Parents, We welcome feedback and questions on this site, but please be respectful. We encourage you to remember that others love their school as much as you love yours. Questions and comments that focus on academics and logistics are helpful to us and to other parents. Personal attacks and, of course, vulgarity have no place in this discussion and will be deleted. We encourage you to find out more about any school at this page. Better yet, visit schools. The benefit of visiting a school greatly outweighs any information you can glean from a single letter grade or third-party web site. Thanks in advance for your feedback – critical or not – and other helpful contributions to this forum.

 

UPDATE 10/16: All public information sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. They are Open House style, so you may arrive when you like and stay as long as you like. See below for dates and locations. Please plan to attend the session closest to you.

UPDATE 10/03: We have set the dates and locations for information sessions regarding Draft 1. These Open House-style sessions will focus on providing information about the changes in their respective geographic areas. Please plan on attending the session nearest to you. All events will take place in the evening. We will announce specific times soon, but we are sharing the dates now for your planning convenience. 

 

  • 10/24: Salem Elementary School, 6116 Old Jenks Road, Apex
  • 10/29: Fuquay-Varina High School (future home of Willow Spring High School), 1704 Old Honeycutt Road, Fuquay-Varina
  • 10/30: Wakefield High School, 2200 Wakefield Pines Drive, Raleigh

 

On Oct. 1, staff members presented Draft 1 of a new Student Enrollment Proposal to the Board of Education.

The proposal includes proposed school assignment changes for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

This is the beginning of a community conversation that is scheduled to conclude with the school board adopting a final plan on Dec. 3.

Find out if you are proposed to be affected.

You are encouraged to visit www.wcpss.net/2020enrollmentproposal for more information about the proposal and to check for updates as the process moves forward.

 

Why is this being proposed?

To keep up with population growth and prevent the overcrowding of schools, we’re building two new schools: 

  • South Lakes Elementary, 1433 Old Honeycutt Road, Fuquay-Varina, opening in August 2020

  • Willow Spring High School, 1704 Old Honeycutt Road, Fuquay-Varina, opening in August 2021

The majority of proposed school assignment changes will be related to the opening of these two new schools in Fuquay-Varina.

Other components of the proposal are aimed at relieving overcrowded schools, better utilizing under-enrolled schools, and improving transportation efficiency. 

 

How can I ask questions and provide feedback?

The best way to provide feedback and ask questions about the proposal is to visit our online forum. This will ensure staff members, school board members and your fellow parents see your questions and feedback. Staff members will respond to questions in a timely fashion. Staff members and board members will also review and consider all feedback as they work toward a second draft of the proposal and, ultimately, the final approved plan. 

 

What is the process for arriving at a final plan?

We will respond to questions and review feedback online for the next several weeks. We also will host three Open House public information sessions where you can learn more about the proposal and ask questions of staff members. We will announce dates and locations soon.

Staff members will present Draft 2 to the school board for discussion on Nov. 5. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 19, providing the opportunity to speak before the full board. A final vote is expected on Dec. 3.

Proposal: Some students attending Highcroft Drive Elementary and White Oak Elementary would be assigned to Salem Elementary; middle school students in those same areas now attending Mills Park Middle would be assigned to Salem Middle.

Purpose: Reduces overcrowding at Highcroft Drive Elementary, White Oak Elementary and Mills Park Middle, while better utilizing Salem Elementary and Salem Middle, which are under-enrolled.

Please share your questions and feedback about this proposal in the thread below.

222 Responses

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Michael Whitney 16 days ago

I understand the need to balance overcrowding and maximize under-utilized schools. For the kids, however, it would be ideal if you could make these changes only for rising students about to enter the school (eg 6th grade only for Middle). My daughter will be a rising 8th grader at MPMS and it will be a very hard transition to go to a new school for 8th grade, especially at that difficult age.

Any chance this could be evaluated?

6 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 16 days ago

Hi Michael. Under this proposal, rising 8th graders are eligible to grandfather and stay at their current school. Grandfathered students are not eligible for district transportation. https://www.wcpss.net/Page/40945

1 Vote
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Michael Whitney 16 days ago

Thanks Matt, that's good to know, for our situation at least :)

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Narender Narwal at October 14, 2019 at 9:10pm EDT

Hi everyone We have boys, both will go to middle. We purchased home at preserve at white oaks because of the schools which were assigned to them. Now we are at closing and the community also has very few last options available. Builder has heavily advertised about the schools and end of the we are left in the middle with no place to go.

It seems like pre-planned effort to do the rezoning when the builder is about to get sold out. I am sure white oak and mills park would now be assigned to future communities coming there and then follow the same pattern and do rezoning when the community is sold.

There should be someone trying to help parents and families in this kind of crisis situation.

Pls see if we can get any kind of help

3 Votes
 
 
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My kids (4th and 1st grade) attend White Oak elementary in the current year and the proposed move is to Salem ES. We bought a house in the neighborhood specifically that they can attend a Traditional school and not a YR school. Also, the White Oak school is much nearer to our home compared to Salem ES. What are our options to stay in the current school assignment? Is there a grandfathering option for both my kids to finish elementary at the current school?

13 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 16 days ago

Hi. Muthuraman. Under the proposed grandfathering policy, your 4th grader would be able to stay at White Oak for 5th grade and the younger sibling could stay for one year, without district transportation. Under this proposal, after your 5th grader moves to middle school, the younger sibling would move to their new school assignment, in this case Salem Elementary. Here's more information about the proposed grandfathering rules. https://www.wcpss.net/Page/40945

1 Vote
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Thanks Matt for getting back. Here are my major concerns in the proposed move:

  1. Moving from Traditional to YR - This is a major issue where we have all our work planned around this calendar. Changing to YR means one of us has to quit the current job or find day care options. Also we moved to Preserve at White oak for the primary reason that it has Traditional schools with White Oak, Mills Park and Green Level.

  2. The travel time to Salem ES will be double the time they take to commute to White Oak ES. This also involves crossing major intersections (NC 55)

Can we request the board to consider the below options as moving to Salem ES is a non starter:

  1. Cap the White Oak ES which allows established families to continue with their current schools.

  2. Any new constructions to be included as part of Salem ES instead of Preserve at White Oak which has already been sending their kids to White Oak ES and Mills Park MS for the last 2-3 years.

This will greatly help in reducing the future crowding of the schools. A lot of the changes that the board is proposing will adversely impact our lives. We've made a lot of investment in buying a house in the neighborhood because of the schools even though we commute more than 30 mins to work. You are taking the one thing (good schools/traditional) that made us move to this neighborhood. Request the board to kindly to re-consider this decision.

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Adeline Tsai 16 days ago

We recently bought the house because of the school assignment (white oak elementary and Mills Park middle and Panther Creek High)! This will ruin our life and the plan that we have!!!! It will not easy for the kids, please reconsider.... Let us stay in school that is only 5 minutes away!!!

20 Votes
 
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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu 16 days ago

My kid is attending White oak elementary that follows traditional calendar and the proposed move to Salem ES follows a year around calendar. This doesn't seem logical to move kids from a traditional calendar to an under utilized year around calendar school. Hope you get the anomaly here.

16 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 15 days ago

If you type in your address in the address look-up tool and then click on the Application Schools button, it should show you your proposed calendar application school and the transportation provided. http://wwwgis2.wcpss.net/addressLookup/proposalFirstDraft/

2 Votes
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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 04, 2019 at 11:37am EDT

Apparently the tool shows up that it would be just a *request". And given that the proposal is for moving the base school from traditional to year round, I would assume that many from my community: Preserve at White Oak Creek, would opt for the alternative traditional calendar school. In that case how would all the requests be entertained is beyond my imagination, since Baucom elementary also seems to be at it's capacity. Kindly take note of this and do the necessary in the next draft and keep the existing community with their respective current base schools and have the future development go to a new base school. Thanks.

9 Votes
 
 
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Matt Dees admin 16 days ago

Jayakhanna, As I just said to Nate, The 900 capacity figure was the initial maximum capacity with modular units. But that was before the state Class Size Reduction mandate. https://www.wcpss.net/Page/34847 The new capacity with modular units, factoring in the class size reduction mandate, is 696. There currently are no trailers on White Oak's campus.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu 16 days ago

Thanks for your reply. As for my actual question though, are there options for traditional calendar schools without losing the busing option. We are in Preserve at White Oaks community.

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Nate Green 16 days ago

Thanks for sharing the proposed draft and giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts and feedback. We are one of the families among many who are affected by the change to White Oak Elementary base assignment. In proposing a move to Salem Elementary and Middle, we are being asked not only to support a school change, but also a calendar change. From the maps included as part of the draft presentationosted on the website, it appears that the two sub-divisions on Jenks Road west of NC-55 were the main areas impacted at the middle and elementary school levels.

I would love to know more about the breakdown in numbers and enrollment showed in your analysis. As I mentioned earlier there are two developments on Jenks Road; Preserve @ White Oak and Westford. The Preserve @ White Oak community is largely built out (only a few houses remain) and enrollment numbers should have leveled off or stabilized in this neighborhood. The other neighborhood Westford has just begun construction with townhouses and single families being actively built (around 300) and continued development of an 300 unit apartment complex, some of which are already occupied. It would be my guess that long-term this development represents a much higher degree of impact on enrollment numbers as the other is already built into current capacity.

Would it not be a better solution to leave the existing established neighborhood intact where children that have lived here 2-3 years can maintain stability at their school, and preserve existing social structures while re-zoning the base school assignment for the new construction area that has not yet been established and includes people that are mostly new to the base zone?

Lastly, as a point of clarification, if I recall correctly from the chart on Page 23 - the capacity of White Oak is listed at around 600 kids, however I recall a few years ago seeing that number was northwards of 900 students. Did this number change since the last analysis? Nevertheless, I would love to see the details on the suggested change above, and what impact that has on enrollment numbers over the next few year and if that changes the recommendation being made.

Thanks for your time and consideration and I look forward to the continued discussion!

21 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 16 days ago

Nate, thank you for sharing this feedback. Our staff will evaluate and consider as they work toward Draft 2. As for 900 figure, that was the initial maximum capacity with modular units. But that was before the state Class Size Reduction mandate. https://www.wcpss.net/Page/34847 The new capacity with modular units, factoring in the class size reduction mandate, is 696. There currently are no trailers on White Oak's campus.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu 16 days ago

"There currently are no trailers on White Oak's campus.".

So that means in future we will have trailers on the White Oak's campus, right? Should that be accounted for in the figures put up in the presentation?

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu 16 days ago

Yes white oak elementary capacity was 900. I searched online to find out and got this link https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article97939132.html

WHITE OAK ELEMENTARY The details: White Oak Elementary is at 1512 White Oak Church Road in Apex. It operates on a traditional calendar.

Enrollment: Enrollment was about 380 students in early August, but the facility is built to hold 900. It will be taking students from Highcroft, Austin Ridge, Mills Park, Turner Creek, Weatherstone and Green Hope schools.

4 Votes
 
 
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Baskar Rajamani 16 days ago

I echo all the comments and sentiments regarding the reason for buying the house and moving to a year round school from traditional school. My son is in 4th grade at White Oak Elementary and was not happy to hear this proposal. He said Salem is not as good as White Oak. When I researched it, i found that Salem is rated below average where as White Oak is above average in GreatSchools.org. Any parent will like his child to go to a better school and that was the main reason for us to buy a house affiliated to a school. I have lived in several states and never faced this problem for my elder one. I know Wake County is famous for this practice but if the educators can keep kids in their decision and not change the schools, it will help the kids have better future. Can we not propose to have any new enrollments to go to Salem instead of moving current kids?

7 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 16 days ago

Baskar, your son would be eligible to grandfather for his 5th grade year and stay at White Oak. https://www.wcpss.net/Page/40945

That said, we encourage you not to judge a school based on a third-party website. Go pay a visit to Salem! The benefit of visiting a school greatly outweighs any information you can glean from an online search.

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Hailey Theile 16 days ago

I watched the Board Meeting. The fact is, the map showing a large chunk of land being rezoned from Highcroft to Salem Elementary/Middle is misleading. All of that area above High House/Green Level is occupied farm land with more cows than children (if any children at all). So you are still only rezoning in effect probably less than about 40 kids from Highcroft, all coming from Ashley Woods (a TINY neighborhood built in the 90s-early 00s that has no future development). You reassigned us last year in early drafts, we fought it, and you dropped it because it didn’t make sense. It STILL doesn’t make sense. This is still singling out our neighborhood and causing a major disruption to our children, without doing anything to actually reduce crowding at Highcroft. By removing 2-4 kids from each grade, you will still not be any closer to removing any caps and you will still have the same overcrowding issues you had before this draft at Highcroft. The only thing you are doing is causing a major negative disruption in the lives of our children who will be pulled out of their school.

Furthermore, Ashley Woods has a more middle class lower socioeconomic status than the majority of Highcroft single family home neighborhoods, so you are not moving towards your goal of more economic balance within schools. NONE of the data supports this move . It might look like something is being done to decrease overcrowding on the map because you are grabbing a bunch of farm land in addition to our neighborhood, but the numbers and the data do not support this move. You will not be relieving overcrowding in reality or supporting any of your goals. You WILL be causing a major disruption in the lives of our children and acting contrary to your goals.

If at some point all of that empty farm land sells and is being developed into residential areas, then fine, I can understand and support such a disruption as being necessary. Currently, those farmers near 540 have very amusing Christmas displays every year, are not going anywhere, and could be there for another 20 years. Again, just as last year, this move may look pretty on a map, but it Does. Not. Make. Sense. The major disruption and harm that our children will experience from this change far outweighs any minimal benefit Highcroft will gain from 3 or 4 kids from each grade being reassigned to a different school.

Please disregard this change in this draft and leave our tiny neighborhood (that has not built a house in nearly 2 decades) alone. We have been zoned for Highcroft since it opened 15 years ago. The parents and families have invested a lot of time and energy into the PTA and other programs over the years. Trying to do this to our few dozen for the kids for a second year in a row is just not right and more importantly, it WILL NOT ACTUALLY REDUCE CROWDING AT HIGHCROFT OR HELP THE BOARD MEET ANY OF IT’S GOALS.

Thank you for your time.

Best,

Hailey Theile, Esq.

13 Votes
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Renuka Sirigiri 16 days ago

Very well said Hailey, not only the Traditional base is being changed from High croft with the reasoning that it is overcrowded. Our calendar alternate which is Turner Creek is also being changed too which is not overcrowded. Ashley woods has been here since 1997 and our kids are being asked to go to a different school which they have been going to the past few years, but the new community "Oaks at Turner Creek" which is still being built is assigned to Turner Creek now. Why not assign the new communities to new schools or existing under crowded schools than disrupting our kids every year. It might be an address look up for you, but for us its our kids, their future, friendships, and the community we built around us.

itsanaddressforyou #itsourkidslives.

6 Votes
 
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Lynsay Dunne 16 days ago

Couldn't have said it better myself! WCPSS thinks because we are a small community they can do this, well Ashley woods may be small, but we are mighty... and extremely vocal!

6 Votes
 
 
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Maliaka Jones 16 days ago

Hello. Thanking you in advance for considering the children first when deciding to relocate them for school. Transferring in and out of schools is a very stressful process. It appears that children may acclimate for a year or two and then have to transition to another school. They will have to adjust to new people, environments, and standards, which in some cases may be lower to what they are use to, academically speaking. Consider asking families to volunteer to move their child first. Offer some kind of incentive. It can be a very trying ordeal for a child to switch schools- it can increase stress and behavioral issues. I don’t believe this is something anyone wants for their children. They have enough to deal with in everyday life. I know in life you should expect change, but for our children, there is a bigger price to pay. Additionally, families have purchased homes to attend specific schools. Parents have committed time and energy to their PTAs. This should be considered. In closing, please make a conscious effort, while planning, to limit disruptions for Wake County families and their children. We are counting on you to do the right thing by all of our children.

6 Votes
 
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Lynsay Dunne 16 days ago

I agree with all Hailey's points above. My family also lives in Ashley Woods, we picked the neighborhood specifically because of Highcroft when it was a year round school. When Highcroft changed to traditional, our plans changed also and our now 1st grader goes to Turner Creek Year Round, which is just over a mile away, well within walking distance.

This proposal would mean we would have to DRIVE right past Turner Creek Year round (which wasn't even mentioned on your proposal and I know overcrowding is not an issue) and drive another 2.6 miles to Salem Year Round. I do want to note that we actually spent a year at Salem Elementary in CCK and Mr. Evans the principle and his staff are wonderful. However, the following year WCPSS insisted that we return to our year round base school for regular Kintergarten and we understood the reason, so we complied and started Kintergarten at Turner Creek. Now that is potentially changing again and we are upset to say the least.

I hope you reconsider and remove Ashley Woods neighborhood from this proposal. Make some of these brand new developments that they are cramming greedily into every inch of the Cary/Apex area make the sacrifice and drive further to their base school and leave our older neighborhoods out of this yearly stressful debate.

Thanks for listening and I am sure I will see you at any upcoming meetings if this proposal remains,

Lynsay Dunne Ashley Woods

8 Votes
 
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Tim Riley 16 days ago

I find myself confused and frustrated that Ashley Woods has to go through this for a second year in a row, but here are some of the points that were made last year that are still relevant this year:

Ashley Woods is a very small, non-dense, older neighborhood that has been part of the Highcroft zone since Highcroft opened. Once again only Ashley Woods and the tiny neighborhood of Branton Drive are being considered for this reassignment. If WCPSS is looking to lower enrollment at Highcroft, why are the two smallest, oldest, and least-dense neighborhoods being singled out? We're talking about a minuscule number of children that will actually be re-assigned, what's the gain here? As seen on the attached map, there are newer, way denser neighborhoods west off 540 that are much more out of place in the Highcroft zone, and are already surrounded by Salem ES assigned neighborhoods. Why are they not being considered instead?

As mentioned above the shaded are in the Highcroft re-assignment map is extremely misleading. The Town of Cary's plan for that entire area outside of the already built residential areas (Ashley Woods and Branton Drive), is a large commercial area called the Green Level Destination Center. Attached is a map which shows the planned area for the center, which encompasses the entire re-assignment area outside of Ashley Woods and Branton drive. More information on this can be found here:

https://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=14055

Lastly, this re-assignment is a calendar change for Ashley Woods, who has already gone through multiple, one of which was in the past 5 years. There was a year-round track change in 2011/2012, and then a switch from year-round to traditional in 2016-2017. Now we will get switched back to year-round. That's a lot of change in the span of four years, and even more in the span of under ten.

I would like to understand why Ashley Woods and Branton Drive continually are singled out for these re-assignments, and other neighborhoods which geographically and statistically would make more sense to lower overcrowding, are not. I'd also like to understand if the board/re-assignment office has looked into the long term plans for the area to be re-assigned, and understand just how little impact this will actually make on Highcroft enrollment numbers.

Thanks.

14 Votes
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Nate Green 16 days ago

Tim - I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. While Highcroft is not our specific school, I have similar concerns that the long-term plans are not accurately reflected into the charts that are put together and presented to the board. There is so much detail missing on the impacts of individual neighborhoods, that it is hard to make an informed decision.

WCPSS is it not possible to show the current and project numbers with the detailed breakdown on how individual neighborhoods impact or relieve overcrowding issues?

8 Votes
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Carol Mohn 15 days ago

We live in White Oak Estates which is the Branton Drive neighborhood mentioned above. We are a very small neighborhood and I echo Tim’s sentiments. Please reconsider reassigning these old established neighborhoods that will have minimal impact on the overall goal.

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Xin Xu 16 days ago

When our first child was in the school age, we decided to go with traditional calendar and worked out all our job schedule and life activities around the school time. Now we have one in 7th grade, one in 2nd grade, and the last one will be in K in 2021. If we can't stay in a traditional calendar school, our schedule is going to be messed up badly. It is such a stress even just for thinking about it!

12 Votes
 
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Kamalkumar Poonia 16 days ago

My Son goes to 2nd grade in White Oak elementary and this is his 2nd year in school. We bought house at Preserve at White Oak Creek neighborhood considering Base school zone which is White Oak ES, Mills Park Middle and Panther Creek High. Last year high school changed to Green level high and this year we are changing both ES and MS. This is not acceptable and affecting us and our kids. Any rezoning should be considered for new development instead of existing one. Please Consider not to make any changes for existing students.

13 Votes
 
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Venkata Venuturupalle 16 days ago

Dear Sirs,

We recently moved to this neighborhood "Preserve at White Oak Creek". Spent 2 to 3 years searching for a suitable house that's affordable for us and is in a good school district. When we signed up for White Oak Elementary we were told that the capacity is around 960 and not even 50% was filled back an year ago. And now I am surprised that within a year the rezoning has started. This is going to have tremendous impact on the families and their plans. I know there is tremendous growth happening around this community. But is not rezoning done with a long term growth perspective. Why is rezoning done almost every year? The parents are always worried about the constant change of schools every year.

This change will have a double impact - 1. Kids complain change of school and change of friends 2. changing from a traditional school to year round school.

I would like to record my strong objection to this change.

When the new neighborhoods come up, why cannot they be assigned to the new schools rather than changing the schools for established communities. I strongly feel that these changes are only helping the builder companies for selling homes than the communities.

Is rezoning done with a 5 year horizon keeping in view of the land development happening in the city? Does builder company's lobbies play a role in the discussion of rezoning?

Thanks

17 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 15 days ago

Venkata, we do not have any control over residential development. As for White Oak's capacity: The original capacity was about 900 with modular units. However, that was before the state's mandate to reduce class size in grades K-3. The new capacity is about 700 with modular units. At this time there are no modular units at White Oak Elementary.

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Venkata Venuturupalle at October 09, 2019 at 4:06pm EDT

Thanks Matt for the response.

  1. Around 300 households moved into this new neighborhood in the past 1 year. As you know schools one of the major factors while choosing your home. And in 1 year the school are being changed. There are lot of new developments coming up in Green Level West road. What schools would they be going to? Why cannot the new neighborhoods be moved to Salem Schools instead of disturbing the established neighborhoods such as ours.

  2. Biggest concern is change in school calendar from Traditional to YR. Are there any plans to convert Salem ES / MS to Traditional instead of YR? From the past history I guess there were attempts to make it Tradiitonal. Could you please let us know if Board could consider that.

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Amanda Newton 16 days ago

My husband and I bought a newly built home in the preserve at white oak neighborhood in April 2018. One of the main reasons we bought in this neighborhood was the schools it is zoned for (white oak elementary, mills park middle and panther creek). These schools were actively advertised and were a selling point for us buying in this neighborhood. Our child will attend school the 2021-2022 school year. We made this decision proactively and deliberately. We moved 3 years ahead of time to ensure our child could attend these schools due to existing caping issues in wcps. We spent a good amount on a home to ensure good schools for our daughter and want this to remain the case.
If we had known this would happen, we could have bought a much less expensive home in a much less expensive area for the same result. I ask that you please reconsider your decision. Consider caping the existing schools if u must. If there must be rezoning please consider rezoning those large new neighborhoods that are currently under construction without occupants currently, not those there are nearly complete.
Please reconsider. Thank you.

13 Votes
 
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Raj Ram 16 days ago

We bought home recently in Preserve at white oak community mainly becuase it had traditional school as a base school. Now as per the new proposal, it will be year round school which we don't want mainly because every year my family will be travelling during summer(aroud 80 days) to see parents and grandparents. and if the base school is year round we can't travel. Instead of moving the existing community to a new school or new calender school, why can't you move the new communities to the new school. while buying itself they will know that what kind of school their kids will go to and people will be buying homes based on their priority. I kindly request you to keep White oak Elementary as our base school for Preserve at white oak community.

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Gokhul Srinivasan 16 days ago

This reassignment is so unfortunate especially when the kids are settling in he current school and for families who relocated to this zone specifically considering the school assignment and prospects. As concerned parents we would like to know the options at hand to ensure the kids are able to continue with the currently assigned schools.

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Sandhya Reddy 16 days ago

We bought a newly built home in the preserve at white oak neighborhood recently based on school zone assignments, traditional calendar. This community is completed so it doesn't make sense to rezone of this completed neighborhood to a new school with YA calendar. We strongly disagree and oppose this new proposal which is hard on kids, parents. This is unacceptable that rezoning the neighborhood just after builder is done with sales!!! Most of the buyers in this neighborhood bough homes because of the assigned schools... Please consider to keep this as is and plan rezoning based on new upcoming project but not after they completed so that people know before making that decision.

6 Votes
 
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SaiNandan Mudivarthy 16 days ago

Once you start school, you become vested. It's where you want your child to grow. So that's probably the most annoying and distressing part. “Location is location”. Yes, there other impacts, but overall, it's the education of our children that is the most important thing.” My 8 year old is in 3rd grade at White Oak Elementary. He shifted from Alston Ridge (Year-Around school) to White Oak Elementary considering it’s a traditional school, holidays can be planned in a better way and no holiday breaks in between. All of a sudden when we first heard that they had changed the maps, it was kind of a shock. As long as the possibilities about grandfathering are kept, and the process for doing that is easy and is not a burden on the parents or the school system, I think it gives a little relaxation. Again my 4 year old kid will be eligible for kindergarten from 2020, if my elder kid continues in White Oak Elementary on “grandfathering” option, can the sibling will be accommodated to White Oak Elementary or we need to place younger one to a newly allocated school zone.

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Meghan Ganschow 16 days ago

Thanks for sharing the proposed draft and giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts and feedback. We live in the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood and are one of the families potentially affected by the change to White Oak Elementary base assignment.

As Nate Green noted above:

"In proposing a move to Salem Elementary and Middle, we are being asked not only to support a school change, but also a calendar change. From the maps included as part of the draft presentationosted on the website, it appears that the two sub-divisions on Jenks Road west of NC-55 were the main areas impacted at the middle and elementary school levels.

I would love to know more about the breakdown in numbers and enrollment showed in your analysis. As I mentioned earlier there are two developments on Jenks Road; Preserve @ White Oak and Westford. The Preserve @ White Oak community is largely built out (only a few houses remain) and enrollment numbers should have leveled off or stabilized in this neighborhood. The other neighborhood Westford has just begun construction with townhouses and single families being actively built (around 300) and continued development of an 300 unit apartment complex, some of which are already occupied. It would be my guess that long-term this development represents a much higher degree of impact on enrollment numbers as the other is already built into current capacity.

Would it not be a better solution to leave the existing established neighborhood intact where children that have lived here 2-3 years can maintain stability at their school, and preserve existing social structures while re-zoning the base school assignment for the new construction area that has not yet been established and includes people that are mostly new to the base zone?"

I could not say it better myself. I completely understand that new construction is affecting the projected number of students within the White Oak Elementary base area and adjustments to the overall base map may be necessary. We simply feel that it is less disruptive to reassign neighborhoods that are at the initial phases of development with the potential for large numbers of students to move in rather than neighborhoods like ours that are essentially finished.

Additionally, the change from a traditional calendar school to a year round school is a much more burdensome transition for a family than a change between two schools of the same calendar system. If such a change is unavoidable, I would respectively request that a one year delay be granted to existing families as arranging for childcare for children who are on different school year calendars within the same family is an expensive and complicated situation that may require parents to take on an additional job to afford.

Thanks for your time and consideration and I look forward to the continued discussion!

13 Votes
 
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I am from Preserve at White Oak Creek...Though Wake county is notorious for rezoning schools, I have expected rezoning happening to our assigned school to happen in far future.

1.If the rezoning is done to address Overcrowding, then our assigned schools should not even be there...the school is not even filled up to 50% of its capacity.

2.Also as these schools are new schools, doesn't town plans for expansions of the neighborhoods? Don't they consider all these points before building schools or before giving permissions to neighborhoods being built? Or is there any other reason that the builders promote about assigned schools when the community is being built.

  1. While rezoning the district doesn't consider the changes kids have to go through different calendar schedules (if they were so concern about kids performance)?

  2. How can the Salem middle be under utilized than the newer schools?

5.How can farm lands be considered for area coverage rather than the density of population, shouldn't people be counted rather than farm land?

13 Votes
 
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Anjul Singhvi 16 days ago

The proposal to rezone the Preserve at White Oak community to Salem Elementary School is very disappointing. Salem ES is a year around school vs whiteoak, which is on the traditional calendar. A sudden change to a year-round calendar would cause unnecessary disruptions. Also, the transportation time will increase a lot. White Oak elementary is just about 5-7 min drive. Salem ES will be a longer bus drive for the kids.

There are a number of new communities being built (and also yet-to-be occupied communities) around this area. I think it would be better to re-zone those sections rather than force children, who have already settled into white oak elementary, to move to a new school and try to adjust to that new environment.

4 Votes
 
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Cary Resident 16 days ago

WCPSS BOE has been working for months on a diversity plan that will move kids around AND create less of a desire for people to buy in booming areas. Read that again - Jim Martin mused aloud how to keep people from buying Western Cary. Pay attention people - this is real - read the meeting notes or go on youtube and watch the last few meetings. And none of them send their kids to their base school - they all use magnets and they want to force you to also. Watch as they remove electives under the guise of "no space" and build up those same electives at magnet schools. You'll see. Band together before it's too late and VOTE THIS BOARD OUT in 2020~!

3 Votes
 
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Cary Resident 16 days ago

WCPSS BOE has a diversity plan and that's what this is about. They want to force you out of your Western Wake school and hope you will be disillusioned enough by YR school that you'll opt for a magnet. They will also start taking away electives and moving them to magnets only. WCPSS board meetings are on youtube - go watch for yourself. They are on record saying that they want to keep people from moving to Western Wake. If they move you from Mills Park to Salem guess what - that will happen!

2 Votes
 
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Nupur Mishra 16 days ago

We recently moved to this neighborhood "Preserve at White Oak Creek" based on school zone assignments, especially traditional calendar which is why preferred the area and paid location premium while purchasing home. We strongly disagree and oppose this new proposal which is hard on kids, parents. Transferring in and out of schools is a very stressful process. It appears that children may acclimate for a year or two and then have to transition to another school. They will have to adjust to new people, environments, and standards. I kindly request you to keep White oak Elementary as our base school for Preserve at white oak community.

4 Votes
 
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Yegammai Lakshmanan 16 days ago

It’s not been a year since we moved to Preserve At White Oak . We just faced all the hurdles of changing our kids( one in fourth grade and other in first grade) to new school, surroundings. They started liking it here and got adjusted to the new environment. And now all of a sudden, there’s this proposal of zoning. I am loosing sleep over this.I strongly object it. It’s stressful even thinking about it. We moved here though the commute to work place is distant,because of the schools ( White Oak Elementary, Mills Park Middle). And we preferred traditional school and choose this community.Also the school is nearby( 6 min) our community. Considering all these factors I suggest you not to change the assigned schools. We do not want to be forced into Year Round Schools.Holidays are planned better in Traditional and also we just worked out schedules for kids accordingly.We will need to sell our home if this change is approved.And move to a school which is Traditional and closer to our home. And literally wanting none of this to happen, Kindly request the Board to stop this new proposal. Thanks!

6 Votes
 
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Hailey Theile 16 days ago

I just wanted to note an inaccuracy in the heat map on page 24 of Draft 1 of the Wake Assignment Plan. The areas north and south of Green Level on the East side of 540 that are zoned to make the Highcroft > Salem move, are still occupied by farmers. This map seems to indicate that these areas will experience high residential growth in the next 5 years. This is inaccurate. The only land that has been sold and zoned for commercial/residential use is west of 540 (Duke Hospital namely).

I believe the heat map may be an over reaction to the Green Level Destination proposal. If you read the town of Cary proposal for this area, namely pages 1, 9, and 12 (see link below), you will see that this green level destination center is aspirational. They hope that these farmers will make the move to sell their land between now and 2040 so that a mixed use development around 540 can go up. For the area east of 540, that has not happened yet and may never happen if these farmers choose to hold out. If the farmers do sell, it is just as likely that this eastern Green Level part of the Green Level Destination Center could end up zoned for commercial use. However, any future plans for this area are pure conjecture at this point since farmers are still happily living there. https://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=14055

Thus, your heat map projection from 2019-2023 for this area is inaccurate. At the bottom of each page of the above Town Council Document it states “Cary Community Plan from now to 2040.” It could take decades for these changes to occur.

If you are still worried about future crowding in this area currently occupied by a few farmers, why don’t you group them with the other “hodgepodge” of “undeveloped property” purple spots west of 540 that will move to Salem? And leave the 30-40 elementary kids in Ashley Woods alone. We are a tiny neighborhood with no growth built 1995-2002 that has been assigned to Highcroft and Mills Park since they opened. We have worked over the years to participate and build up those school communities. Highcroft having 3-4 less kids per grade does not outweigh the major disruption our kids will experience from this move.

Thank you again for your time. I really just want this decision to be made based on facts and accurate information. I think that’s a fair request.

10 Votes
 
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Tim Riley 16 days ago

One additional note to Hailey's points above, just last week the Town of Cary approved a rezoning of a plot on the southeast corner of Branton drive to be zoned commercially for an office building. While this is just one lot, this shows that it is very clear that the town plans to develop this area around the 540/Green Level West interchange into commercial use. There are zero plans for residential in that area.

More information on that particular rezoning in the link below. In that link there is also mention of the Destination Center, which is planned to come eastward from 540 all the way to Branton Drive.

http://carync.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=4423&MediaPosition=&ID=3682&CssClass=

7 Votes
 
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Sam Wong 16 days ago

I currently have two children attending Turner Creek ES (rising 1st grade and rising 2nd grader), as the YR alternate to White Oak ES. Will we be able to be grandfathered in? If so, would it only be for one year?

2 Votes
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Matt Dees admin 15 days ago

Hi Sam, your children would not be eligible to grandfather under the current proposed rules. You would be able to request a transfer to Turner Creek or any other school during the Request for Transfer period, Feb. 24-March 6.

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David Albert 16 days ago

Thanks for sharing the draft material and giving us the time and opportunity to share our thoughts and feedback. I believe all our feedback will be taken into consideration before a final decision is made. We live in the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood and are one of the families potentially affected by the change to White Oak Elementary base assignment.

As many parents have already expressed, kids are the ones that will face a lot of hardship due to the proposed change and will be heavily impacted. We understand the need to balance the schools due to overcrowding and under-utilization. But, this cannot be done at the expense of the kids who have already established some kinds of roots in their existing schools. We have several new communities that have begun construction and are under construction. People moving into these new neighborhoods will anyways be starting their kids in a new school. Would it not be a better solution to re-zone the base school assignment for these new constructions rather than doing it for the already established neighborhoods?

In addition, currently most of the families have 2-3 kids at different grade level going to different traditional schools. If this re-zoning were to happen then this would put families in a very tough situation where couple of the kids in the family would be going to year round school and the other sibling will be going to traditional school. This will be a hardship for the families as well especially in homes where both the parents are working.

Can’t White Oak Elementary be capped so the residents who move into the new developments have their base school as Salem Elementary? This will help the kids from the established neighborhoods so their existing social structures are not disturbed and also the kids from the new neighborhoods as they begin a new social structure in the new school.

As Nate and Meghan noted above:

“We simply feel that it is less disruptive to reassign neighborhoods that are at the initial phases of development with the potential for large numbers of students to move in rather than neighborhoods like ours that are essentially finished.”

Thanks for your time and I once again believe that our feedback will be taken into consideration and in the right spirit for the benefit of the kids. I look forward to the continued discussion and hope for a favorable decision!

13 Votes
 
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Mahrya McNamara 16 days ago

I am also a resident of the Preserve @ White Oak. We moved here from out of state with our 4 children after extensive research on the school systems they would be attending, like many others have as well. Our decision for this neighborhood was solely based on the school systems they would be attending. This is a predominantly established neighborhood. It makes a lot more sense to re-zone a community that has not been established yet. As all of the other concerned parents have stated, I seriously hope this is reconsidered.

It was my intention to send all of my children to the same school. This will now present multiple negative issues and impacts on our family, as well as many others I am sure. I am losing sleep over this as well. Many of these children have already changed schools to attend White Oak Elementary. Changing schools again is upsetting and disruptive. And I won't even begin about changing from a traditional calendar to a year round. This is simply not an option for our family.

Please keep White Oak Elementary as our base school.

5 Votes
 
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Ram Yerramareddy 15 days ago

We moved to "Preserve at White Oak Creek" neighborhood based on Traditional Calendar school assignments ( White Oak ES, Mills Park MS ). Now with this rezoning we were forced to move to year round schools which we didn't like. ( My son was going to Year round school earlier). please reconsider your decision to rezone "Preserve at White Oak Creek". consider rezoning the new neighborhoods that are currently under construction without any occupants and not to make any changes for existing students.

8 Votes
 
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Sumalatha Bussari 15 days ago

It’s not been a year since we moved to Preserve At White Oak. My kid is in fourth grade white Oak elementary. he started liking to new school, surroundings and got adjusted to the new environment. From day one he is in traditional calendar, now he is not ready to move to YR. And now again suddenly, there’s this proposal of zoning. we strongly object the rezone proposal. It’s stressful for kids and us to change them to traditional to YR. We brought the house here, because of the schools (White Oak Elementary, Mills Park Middle). And we preferred traditional school and choose this community and the school is nearby our community. Considering all these factors we suggest the board not to change the assigned schools for completed communities. Board should consider the new upcoming builders which are under constructions not the completed. It’s very insane to rezone the that after sales are done buying the house which is in good school zone now. There are new communities being built around that area must be rezoned because they are yet to occupy. We do not want to be forced into Year Round Schools. Holidays are planned better in Traditional and also, we just worked out schedules for kids accordingly. We will need to sell our home if this change is approved. And move to a school which is Traditional and closer to our home. And literally wanting none of this to happen, Kindly request the Board to stop this new proposal. Thanks!

8 Votes
 
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Sarah Laub 15 days ago

I understand that zoning for schools takes a lot of effort on your part, with hours of the behind the scenes discussions about what you feel is best for the schools and community. Please hear what we are saying and reconsider. My family moved from Fuquay specifically to a neighborhood that is zoned for White Oak Elementary. Two of our children attend school at WOE, one of which is in the special education preschool class. We started him there last school year, in March, when we found a house that was specifically within this school zoning. This year our oldest started there in kindergarten. Their classrooms are diagonal from each other which helps foster additional support when our 4 year old needs to see a familial face. Additional, his developmental growth that he has accomplished while being at WOE is huge, more than we ever thought possible! He knows all of the teachers, the schedule, routine, what is expected of him, etc. The transition from changing schools earlier this year was extremely difficult for him and took several months for him to adjust. When he started back this year, he adjusted so much faster knowing that his older brother was across the hall. Knowing that his entire schooling would be changed is going to be mentally/emotionally hard for him and having to relearn all of the routines will be so detrimental to him and his current progress and would have setbacks that we may not be able to rebound from. Knowing that our neighborhood is going to be rezoned to a school is extremely stressful for us as their parents. We strive to make sure that he is safe and is able to transition as best as he can. We have a plan with his current teachers about his goals for the coming years to help transition him to kindergarten and this is going to ff track in the worst way. As a parent, we want to do what is best for our children, special needs and children at an appropriate developmental age. This change is going to cause so much unneeded stress, worry, and fear for all of us as parents and most importantly for our children. I just ask that you allow the current students that are attending WOE to stay. They have already made connections, friends, familiarity, etc. It is worth it to disrupt all of their current success and strides and through this type of curve ball? I ask that if this was your child, what do you feel would be the best on their behave. We are trying to do the same for our children and moving them and readjusting them (at such a young age) could be really detrimental to their own success and how they perceive their education. I really ask that you reconsider and allow the current students/ siblings to stay where they are. Please think of our children.

10 Votes
 
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Apex Resident 15 days ago

Thanks for sharing the proposed draft and allowing us to share our thoughts and feedback.

The saying 'Wake county was notorious for this behavior' is so true. This type of draft proposal makes it hard to have any faith in the Wake county educational system. And that the board-level decisions are being taken with kid's best interests in the heart.

Grandfathering is a stopgap measure and only softens the blow, delaying the inevitable.

We purchased our house and moved into the current neighborhood( Preserve @ White Oak) after a couple of years of careful research and planning. The key reason was the White Oak ES, and now this proposal comes out.

I do not believe in a year-round school system, and with our current work schedules, it will not be possible to support that schedule either. So an indirect effect of this is that my spouse and I have to start looking for new jobs to accommodate a year-round school system or one of us has to quit.

@ Matt, I take my kid every weekend for activity over at Sales ES, and the infrastructure over there is ancient compared to White Oak ES. So I do have some first-hand experience.

Affected parties will be more accommodating If we see investments made into existing school infrastructure and staff pay. This type of rezoning is very reactive. Instead, the County should be taking these school system capacity into account before handing out new development permits.

I vigorously oppose this proposal. Push comes to shove, and We will most likely pull our son from the County school system and either go Charter or Private if this proposal goes into effect.

Thanks for your time and consideration, and I look forward to the continued discussion and will personally be present at the next meeting!

9 Votes
 
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Sanjay Mohanty 15 days ago
  1. Driving Distance / Transportation: The driving distance between my address to White Oak elementary is less than the other proposed elementary school which takes away every week huge time from my work life, which affects tons of people’s contributions towards it. Kids will be out of home for longer time.

  2. Safety & Security: Driving regularly and crossing NC-55 like major junctions for the proposed new elementary school will create safety issue for kids as well as on road passengers. This affects the daily life.

  3. When we look at the road NC-55 / 540, how it has been planned for the city with respect to schools : All the families who are staying on ‘Jenks road’ (that is West side) go to Schools which are on same side of NC-55 (that is West side). Same pattern should follow the elementary & middle schools as the number of schools and number kids go to schools are proportionate.

  4. Preserve at White Oak community is having the most convenient driving distance schools are ‘White Oak Elementary’, ‘Mill Park Middle’ & ‘Green Level High’. Due to this convenience we the responsible citizens paying tax as well as we are able to support the above three schools by volunteering in their regular activities which are most conveniently located.

  5. Traditional base school calendar vs Year around school calendar: Students who are going to the traditional school currently will be affected the most. As the kids & parents are acquainted for years in traditional calendar so, their whole schedule will be impacted drastically. Earlier one of my kid was going to traditional & other one was going to ‘year around’ which did Not work-out for us so, finally we moved to this Community for the traditional calendar.

Above five(5) points must be taken into considerations & rezoning the “Preserve at White Oak(Preserve at White Oak Creek) community” must be ruled out for the future years to come.

13 Votes
 
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Dipan Sutradhar 15 days ago

I want to echo many other comments posted here. We also moved in Preserve @ White Oaks considering better and traditional schools which cost us additional location premiums. Though our community has been gone through this reassignment process before, this change to Salem is not acceptable. Even though the need to rezoning or balancing is not unacknowledged, applying this process to an already established community, again and again, is stressful. Thank you for sharing this proposed draft. I strongly object to this change. Please do not change White Oaks Em for Preserve at White Oaks.

5 Votes
 
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Rohit Shetty 15 days ago

I agree with all the concerns that have been expressed above. We bought our house at Preserve at Whiteoak Creek because of the school assignments and a big part of the decision was the fact that the assigned schools were traditional schools. If the board is really doing any sort of planning the assignments of schools should happen when new developments are being planned versus once they have all been occupied - the latter is disruptive. The fact that the new schools are year round makes this change a Major impact to the parents since we now have to realign our jobs and in some cases quit to manage the new schedules. I urge the board to look at this as not just a logistical issue but as something that has a larger impact to the family including the child - remember if the parents have to quit their jobs that has a direct impact on the quality of life of the kids.

If you do have to rebalance I would urge you to consider other traditional schools as options.

5 Votes
 
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Sangram Saste 15 days ago

Greetings !! I am also resident of Preserve at While Oak Community. We recently moved to new our new home after lot of research and While Oak Elementary school with Traditional school system was the most important criteria for us while purchasing home. New school zoning proposal for our brand new community is going to void all our efforts and considerations given by all residents and would be very injustice to their expectations from Wake County Public School System. Kind request to reconsider this zoning and keep While Oak as base school to our community. Thanking you in anticipations !!

5 Votes
 
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Sharanya Shetty 15 days ago

After a lot of consideration we recently moved to "Preserve at White Oak Creek" neighborhood.Our main priority is a good school for our two kids.Hence we moved to this neighborhood based on school zone assignments, especially traditional calendar which is why we preferred the area and paid location premium while purchasing home. If we can't stay in a traditional calendar school, our schedule is going to be messed up badly. It would be better to re-zone number of new communities that are being built around this area which are also yet-to-be occupied rather than force children, who have already settled into white oak elementary, to move to a new school.We strongly disagree and oppose this new proposal which is hard on kids and parents. Please reconsider.

4 Votes
 
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Chhavi Sharma 15 days ago

I am resident of Preserves at White Oaks and completely echo the thoughts of other residents. One of the primary reasons for moving to this neighborhood is the school assignment . After less than 4 months of moving here and kids adjusting to White Oak Elementary, discussions of rezoning is highly disappointing . The plan does not consider location or distance. The properties under construction should be zoned appropriately and the existing homeowners should not be made to suffer. It’s misleading to say the least that while communities are under construction they are zoned to good schools and as soon as they are occupied there are talks of rezoning . It’s basic planning to consider expansion and school assignments when approval is provided for new townhomes and apartments in the area. We thank you for providing this platform and hope that feedback provided here will be considered.

4 Votes
 
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Sai Mothukooru 15 days ago

We bought a newly built home in the preserve at white oak neighborhood recently based on school zone assignments, traditional calendar. This community is completed so it doesn't make sense to rezone to a year round schools after the community is close to complete. We strongly disagree and oppose this new proposal which is hard on kids and parents. Most of the buyers in this neighborhood bought homes because of the assigned schools. Please consider to keep this as is and plan rezoning for new and upcoming neighborhoods.

5 Votes
 
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Preeti Kakade 15 days ago

I am Preeti Kakade Resident of Preserve at white oak community in Apex. My daughter is a 2nd grader at white oak elementary, this is her first year at White oak elementary, After hearing great review about WOE we moved our daughter to this school only to find out that she will have to move school again because of the reassignment.My daughter loves her teachers and her school it will be a mistake to move children from school they love. Traditional school really works for our household as it is easier to travel to our native country during the summer vacation. If we are move to a year round school my daughter will not have enough time to spend time with family and friends abroad. it is my humble request to please reconsider the reassignment. Regards Preeti

5 Votes
 
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Sroda Porter 15 days ago

My husband and I moved to North Carolina and bought a house in a neighboring county twelve years ago. Four years later our daughter was born and a son 3 years afterwards. We explored public school kindergarten options for our daughter but were not able to secure a position as her birthday was after the August 31st deadline. We then enrolled her in a private pre-kindergarten program. The following year prior to enrolling, we were surprised to learn that our base school was one of the lowest rated in the area. As a result, we applied for public charter and magnet schools in the area. We were fortunate that our daughter gained enrollment in our second preferred public charter school. After a successful kindergarten year, we got a call from our first choice public charter and were offered a spot for first grade. After much thought, we decided to change schools as the new school was project based and seemed to fit her learning style and also recently added a middle school. Much to our delight, she acclimated well and made great friendships. Subsequently, our son was able to gain admittance through sibling preference. The next two years at the elementary school went well, however rumblings of problems including bullying and high teacher turn over at the middle school persisted throughout our time at the school. We ultimately decided 5th grade would be a good time to transition to another school considering it was the start of middle school at the current school. As such, we sold our house, focused on buying a home in a better school zone, and decided on Cary as it is well known for great schools. In an effort not to duplicate the mistake we made when we purchased our previous home, we researched the base schools for each home we were interested in our price range and ultimately bought a home in Ashley Woods primarily because we were highly impressed with the base schools, Highcroft Dr. Elementary and Mills Park Middle. We immediately felt welcomed to the neighborhood and our children are enjoying Highcroft and newfound friends. Moving to Ashley Woods had been better than we imagined until today when we learned of the potential school reassignment. I feel another change in school would be devastating to my children as the entire reason for us moving to the area was for the schools and to have that taken away from them after only one year would not be just. I am sure there are other families with similar stories. Furthermore, Ashley Woods is an established neighborhood that has been assigned to the same schools for some time and should not be forced to send its children to another town in which we do not even pay taxes to educate our children. Any change that occurs in terms of our children’s education must be thought out and planned carefully before implemented. I do not see how reassigning the schools to Apex could be advantageous to our children. Please reconsider. Thank you.

3 Votes
 
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Sunilkumar Parekh 15 days ago

Thanks for letting us know about the change in advance.

First, let's discuss why you are doing these changes and how those are not rational in my opinion.

Quotes from your website "Proposal are aimed at relieving some overcrowded schools, better utilizing under-enrolled schools, and improving transportation efficiency"

  1. Overcrowded School - My younger daughter's school is White Oak Elementary and it’s still not overcrowded now. Even though it may become overcrowded in the future, why do we want to move existing, established kids, who also have an emotional attachment to school (my school)? Can we not assign new students to that school rather than established one?

  2. Better utilized uncrowded school - As we are claiming that White Oak will be Overcrowded soon, not sure if we have done this or not, but we need to find the reason, why Salem ES will be underutilized in future despite a lot of new constructions, are going near to the school.

  3. Transportation Efficiency – Our proposed school change does not fit in this criteria. White Oak Elementary is very near to ‘Preserve at White Oak Creeks’ community where we live, than Salem ES. It just takes 5 minutes to reach school. Whereas to reach Salem ES it almost takes more time and has to cross major highways. We (WCPSS) will spend more time and money than what we are spending now on BUS transportation.

Along with above three facts, we are also going to face School Calendar Change issue: In my situation, next year my elder one will go to 9th grade which is a Traditional School and My younger one will go to 2nd grade. If this proposal passed through one of my children will go to Traditional school another to Year around the school which will be very difficult to manage their schedules. Also we year around school does not fit in our plans, and hence we changed it from year around to traditional for my elder long back.

Based on the above reasons, I would like to request the board to reconsider this proposal and keep White Oak Elementary as is.

12 Votes
 
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Tara McMahon 15 days ago

I am writing this with heartfelt disappointment about the proposed rezoning of the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood. Like many other families on this forum, we too bought our house in the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood based on the fact that White Oak Elementary would be the school for our 2 children. My son now goes to 1st grade at White Oak elementary and my daughter will be a Kindergartener next year. My son is thriving at White Oak elementary school. It is wonderful to see how much he loves his teachers and the vibrant culture of learning that makes the school so wonderful. By rezoning our neighborhood to Salem elementary, you would be upheaving my son’s life as well as ours. My husband and I both work and have chosen a traditional school zone for this and many other reasons. We also do not want to have to cross over several highways in order to bring our children to school. This is dangerous and much further away as well; hence increasing our commuting times for work. I cannot understand how a school board could possibly see any positive outcomes in doing this to the lives of those of us affected by the rezoning proposal. Instead of rezoning the PWO neighborhood, could you please consider capping White oak elementary? This way, any new construction happening in the near future, including new apartments/townhomes being built, can go to the proposed rezoned school-instead of destroying the lives and dreams of all the families that currently attend White Oak school. I am confident that you will rethink this proposal. Because I believe that a school board wants to keep the best interests of the children involved at heart.

10 Votes
 
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Ethel Sorto 15 days ago
  1. The proposed assignment plan is disruptive and not in our kids' best interest or consistent with the stated Board pillar of Stability. According to Draft 1 of the proposal, students in Ashley Woods will be moved to a new calendar and feeder pattern (Salem ES to Salem MS to Green Level HS). The proposed re-assignment is not only a school change, but also a calendar change for Ashley Woods, who has already gone through multiple calendar changes, one of which was in the past 5 years. There was a year- round to single track (Track 4) change in 2011/2012, and then a switch from single track (Track 4) to traditional in 2016-2017. Families adjusted and we have been aligned (ES, MS, and HS) on traditional for just 3 years. Now, we are being switched back to year-round? That's a lot of change in the span of four years, and even more in the span of under ten. For families like mine, we have endured all of those calendar changes and are facing a new 6 years of calendar misalignment if this proposal moves forward. How is this considered “stability” for our students?
  2. The small number of students from Ashley Woods will not have a significant impact on overcrowding which is the stated purpose for this reassignment. Ashley Woods is a small, established neighborhood that has been assigned to Highcroft Drive ES and Mills Park MS since those schools opened. Ashley Woods has not grown in the past 15 years and will not grow in the future. Ashely Woods does not represent a large number of students (estimated 30-40 elementary students and 15-20 middle school students). Ashley Woods is actually only a small part of the geographic area west of NC 55 impacted by Draft 1 of the assignment proposal; a large portion of the shaded area is undeveloped farm land. The shaded area in the Highcroft / Mills Park re-assignment map is extremely misleading. The Town of Cary's plan for that entire area outside of the already built residential areas (Ashley Woods and Branton Drive), is a large commercial area called the Green Level Destination Center. More information on this can be found here:https://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=14055 Despite the large shaded area, the plan is only rezoning in effect probably less than about 40 kids from Highcroft ES and 20 kids from Mills Park MS, all coming from Ashley Woods and Branton Drive. Removing ~5 kids from each grade will not reduce overcrowding or remove the caps in place at the schools. But it will be a major negative disruption in the lives of our students and families.
  3. Alternatives? We would like to understand why Ashley Woods and Branton Drive continually are singled out for these re-assignments, and other neighborhoods which geographically and statistically would make more sense to reduce overcrowding, are not. We’d also like to understand if the board/re-assignment office has looked into the long term plans for the area to be re-assigned and understand just how little impact this will actually make on Highcroft ES and Mills Park MS enrollment numbers.  There are newer, way denser, growing neighborhoods west off 540 that are much more out of place in the Highcroft zone, and are already surrounded by Salem ES assigned neighborhoods.  There are newer, way denser, growing neighborhoods on the north end of the base attendance area that have a new ES and MS proximate to them. Why are they not being considered instead?  If the BOE is concerned about the Green Level destination Center, perhaps assigning the undeveloped land to Salem ES and MS (like the other random purple areas) would relieve those concerns without disrupting the Ashely Woods families. We have been zoned for Highcroft and Mills Park Middle schools since they opened 15 and 10 years ago, respectively. The parents and families have invested a lot of time and energy into the PTA and other programs over these years. We have endured multiple calendar changes and multiple attempts to move us to new schools and it is so stressful and disruptive to families and students. Most importantly, it will not actually reduce crowding at Highcroft ES or Mills Park MS or help the board meet any of its goals. Please leave our Ashley Woods neighborhood base schools as Highcroft Drive ES and Mills Park MS.
4 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 04, 2019 at 1:43pm EDT

Ethel, in response to "We would like to understand why Ashley Woods and Branton Drive continually are singled out for these re-assignments" Last year we proposed changing elementary assignments in this area to Green Hope Elementary. We ultimately decided to remove that proposal based on parent concerns about a disrupted K-12 feeder pattern. The current proposal would have all the students in this area attend Salem Elementary, Salem Middle and Green Level High.

In response to, "There are newer, way denser, growing neighborhoods west off 540 that are much more out of place in the Highcroft zone." Our staff did consider the northern part of the Highcroft base attendance area, where Carpenter may have been an option, but it is at capacity and its base population is growing. Other schools in this part of the county are at or over capacity, including many that are capped. Salem Elementary and Middle have available seats and are proximate to the southern portion of the Highcroft base attendance area.

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Saurabh Atri 15 days ago

Well the proposed idea has many pitfalls and shouldn't be enforced to the existing families:

  1. The proposed school (Salem ES) is a year round school vs traditional.

  2. The proposed school's rating is below average on greatschools.org

  3. It is a mental stress to the kids and families to resettle into a new school especially when we know that it would directly impact kids academic performance.

  4. The proposed school is far off and requires multiple busy highway i.e. 1600/540/64/55/1611 commute in the morning/evening rush hours, which leads to safety and longer commute time.

  5. It is unfair practice to the families, who have invested in the properties which are falling in the school zone community of their choice after doing so much of research.

In a nutshell WCPSS shouldn't support time to time rezoning at least for the existing families and rather promote a stronger foundation for kids by uplifting the education standards, stability along with bringing in more avenues to address school overcrowding issues. Since it is not just rezoning/relocating to a new school building or changing the bus routes. It is definitely much more complex and sensitive topic than that especially when kids education is at stake.

9 Votes
 
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Ravikumar Vadlamudi 15 days ago

Thanks for sharing the proposed draft and giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts and feedback. We bought a newly built home recently in the preserve at white oak neighborhood based on school zone assignments, i.e. traditional calendar. We worked out all our job schedule/priorities and life activities to fit in to traditional calendar. My daughter is in 1st grade at White Oak elementary and this is her 2nd year in this school. We had very difficult time to have her acquainted to Whit Oak elementary and it took 1 year for her to adjust to this school. She is comfortable with the teachers and made lot of friends and she is enthusiastic to go this school now. My son is in middle school and going to traditional calendar school. Considering the challenges we had with our daughter and my son’s schedule, we have worked from 2 year to align our job/routines to my children’s school schedule which is traditional calendar. This rezoning will be gigantic impact on my kids and we don’t want to take any chance to make them disappointed to the accustomed environment.
Kids in a family going to different calendar will have huge impact on their carriers which will impact on our job lives too. Transferring in and out of schools is a very stressful process and takes lot of time for kids to adjust. This very sensitive matter and not sure how kids will be acquainted. This will be very very stressful for parents to balance kids and night mare to manage. On the other note, traditional school really works well for the families who have parents/siblings in out of country as they can travel during summer time and spend good amount of time with their families. This rezoning has enormous impact on our Preserve at White Oak neighborhood. Considering the above factors, we strongly disagree and oppose this new proposal which is hard on kids, parents which ruins their plans. Any rezoning should be considered for new development instead of existing one. Please consider this has our humble request and have the existing students continue in White Oak elementary.

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Steven Ray 15 days ago

Thank you for providing this forum for our opinions to be voiced. As a family living in the Preserve at White Oak with two daughters attending White Oak Elementary, and one headed to middle school next year, we are dramatically impacted by this proposed reassignment to which we firmly object. We were shocked to hear that our community was being considered for reassignment, particularly when White Oak Elementary has only been open 3 years and is not overcrowded or at capacity.

From an academic standpoint, the proposed reassignment to Salem ES and Salem MS is completely unacceptable. Salem ES and Salem MS are not on the same level academically with White Oak ES and Mills Park MS. Recent test scores and NC school report card grades reflect this. For the 2018-2019 school year, White Oak ES and Mills Park MS both received an A grade; Salem ES received a C and Salem Middle received a B. We are being forced to move our kids to schools that are academically inferior. This is unacceptable and not in the best interest for our children’s education.

We had our house built in this neighborhood specifically to enter a school zone with a traditional calendar schedule. It is untenable to force us and our neighbors to be subjected to a year-round school schedule when our major life choices were made with the understanding that our school zone was on a traditional calendar. Not only would these proposed changes force us into academically inferior schools, but we would be forced to disrupt our entire life and schedule. This is not acceptable for our family or for our community at Preserve at White Oak.

The school board has an obligation to the community to provide stability for the educational needs of the children in the school district. Our neighborhood is nearly complete, and the families that decided to build here did so with the expectation that the school assignments to White Oak Elementary and Mills Park Middle School were made with the school board having sufficient data and forecasting to retain confidence in their plan for a significant duration. At the time White Oak Elementary was opened in August 2016, the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood was seen as an appropriate element of the school’s assignment zone. Now 3 years later, in the absence of any significant changes to the population growth or planned development in this area, this new proposal suggests to transplant our families to an elementary school and middle school where the transit time is more than twice what it takes our children to reach White Oak Elementary or Mills Park. What’s more, instead of short, safe bus-rides on the quiet roads between our neighborhood and White Oak Elementary or Mills Park, our children will need to be bussed longer rides through several high congestion areas such as Rt. 55 at Jenks. This alone is counter to your goal of improving transportation efficiency. And this is far from providing stability to our children’s education.

Our family has been part of White Oak Elementary for several years, and we’ve contributed significant time and money through the PTA and annual fundraisers to help establish that school in this area and lay the groundwork for its success. It is unconscionable for us to be forced to leave that school now, while neighborhoods that are yet to be built and people that are yet to choose this area get to receive the school’s benefits. If capacity does become an issue, instead of penalizing our established community that helped the school to grow, we believe enrollment should then be capped and new people moving into the area can make an informed decision on the outlook for their children’s schooling.

Most disturbing to us is the fact that the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood is being unfairly burdened and singled out by proposing our families be rezoned. Ours is the only existing subdivision west of 540 that is proposed to be uprooted and rezoned to Salem Elementary and Middle School. The proposed draft plan shows numerous purple regions west of 540 suggesting a large area from which students would be sent to Salem. However, other than our neighborhood, every single current or proposed region west of 540 is either park land (Raftery Park, Thomas Brooks Park), a school (Mills Park Property), commercial property (corner of Carpenter Fire Station and Green Level Church), a retirement community (Carolina Preserve at Amberly), Jordan Lake wetlands, or very sparsely populated country roads. The Preserve at White Oak is the only concentration of families being considered for this onerous rezoning and rescheduling. That is simply not fair, and does not help to solve any issues the school board is trying to address.

In addition, this proposed reassignment is inappropriate for our neighborhood in view of the fact that Salem Elementary and Middle School are in district 9, while we live and vote in district 8. This means we would not be properly represented for our assigned school.

Thank you for considering our concerns and understanding the upheaval this will cause our children, our family, and our neighborhood. We hope you will agree that the right decision is to leave our school assignments as White Oak Elementary and Mills Park Middle School.

30 Votes
 
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Subhajit Guha 15 days ago

Hi, my kid has been going to the White Oak Elementary school for past 2 years. We moved her out of a magnet school only because we have such a great school near our new home ; in fact part of the reason we moved to this home at Preserve at White oak was because of the excellent elementary, middle and high school combination. It is painful to see the rezoning proposal to Salem elementary; not because I have anything against any particular school, but because of the sheer mental trauma the kids will go through. Be it new teachers or new school environment or just the duration of transport, the sheer disruption in the kids regular life is going to have a negative impact to her overall development. Not to mention the overall disruption in family life as described by so many commentors above. As expressed by so many people who wrote before me, why are the existing and established families being made to suffer in this way. If the school is getting capped (in the future), then the new entrants into the school should be reassigned, not the existing students. My request is for the board to please reconsider the rezoning of white oak elementary for this community (preserve at white oak) this year and in future.

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Hailey Theile 15 days ago

Draft 1 ERROR on Page 24. The “2019-2023 Heat Map” in regard to development around 540 is inaccurate. Period. The town of Cary website has an interactive map that shows future developments and rezoning. https://www.townofcary.org/projects-initiatives/maps/interactive-development-map The only area zoned/in development is the Duke University Hospital west of 540 and a tiny office space east of 540 that Tim Riley referred to. The other areas have farm houses, and are occupied by farmers with very amusing Christmas displays, who are not going anywhere for the time being. As mentioned above, any further Green Level development east of 540 is 100% speculative conjecture and may never happen. Thus, your page 24 heat map showing high residential growth in this area over the next few years is wrong. It could take 20 years or more for that area to sell, and it may even end up zoned for commercial use when it does! This is the second year we have been through this. The information you are using here to make reassignment decisions that effect the lives of our children is inaccurate. Ashley Woods respectfully requests that our tiny neighborhood with no growth est. in the 90s be left in the Highcroft/Mills Park/Green Level feeder pattern. We have 35 or so elementary kids and roughly 20ish middle and you will not be helping overcrowding issues by removing a few kids per grade. It will just cause major stress and disruption in the lives of our children and have no real benefit for the school district. If you feel the need to assign that farm land that may or may not have a residential development going up in 25 years, then do that and leave us out of it. Please. You already assigned empty parcels of land west of 540 to Salem, depicted by the “hodgepodge” of purple dots on your map.

Do I have to go knock on these farmers doors and bring them with me to a Draft 1 public comment session to testify and prove this to you? I think the Cary Town Council meetings, supporting documents, and maps should speak for themselves...But if I have to go knock on some doors, I am not above that.

Thank you, Hailey Theile, Esq.

10 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 04, 2019 at 2:00pm EDT

Hailey, our staff is looking to the issues you and others have raised. We will provide more information in an FAQ next week.

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Naz Khan 15 days ago

I echo all the comments and like many others feeling very stressed because of this proposal which my family and neighbors highly oppose. After doing extensive amount of research we bought our new home last year in Preserve at White Oak based on traditional schools White Oak, Mills Park .. Our neighborhood is full of residents who have families overseas and we travel for 3 months during summer to go back home and stay with family. Your new proposal is not only going to cause trouble locally but families will suffer internationally as well!!! My 4th grader is in Magnet school and 6th grader in Mills park and have a 11 month old who in future will be attending the base elementary school. I cant imagine after following traditional school calendars throughout our lives how can you impose a YR calendar for our neighborhood!!! There are families in this neighborhood who recently moved from different states and now that our kids are settled into schools made new friends you are imposing a proposal that doesn't make sense to anyone!!! Please reconsider and try to understand our challenges!!

9 Votes
 
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Tim Riley 15 days ago

There is an additional small discrepancy in the re-assignment map. Please see the circled portion of the attached map - this area is already developed commercial/retail.

The plot of land on the southeast corner of Branton Drive that was recently re-zoned, was re-zoned from low density residential to commercial. Neighbors of that property fought tooth and nail to prevent this, as the land is sandwiched between two residential neighborhoods. However the town did not care, as their overall plan for this area is commercial/retail. It's a pretty safe bet that if the town has plans for something (like the Green Level Destination center), they'll do what it takes to make it happen.

I think we can all agree that taking ~30 children out of Highcroft and ~25 children out of Mills Park will have no affect on over-crowding. This is not speculation, this is fact. There are no other residential developments in the re-assignment area outside of Ashley Woods and Branton Drive, and it's a pretty safe bet there never will be. If the information we have taken the time to compile and share here is not enough, I suggest that the board/office of re-assignment meet with the planning department to get a better feel for what is planned in the area, and weigh actual classroom reductions versus the affect this has on the very small neighborhoods that have been singled out.

If this is truly about reducing enrollment at Highcroft and Mills Park, then this makes little sense. If not, then I think that those of us being affected should better understand the reasoning.

Attachments: map_new2.png
11 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 07, 2019 at 8:55am EDT

Tim, don't know yet about capping. Typically the board makes capping decision sometime in the December to February window.

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Matt Dees admin at October 04, 2019 at 2:07pm EDT

Tim, about 50 current Highcroft Drive students and 36 Mills Park Middle students are proposed to be reassigned to Salem schools. Keep in mind that both Highcroft and MPMS are capped. We are looking into the points you and others have raised about future development and will respond with additional info next week.

1 Vote
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Tim Riley at October 04, 2019 at 3:12pm EDT

@Matt Dees - thanks. How will this re-assignment affect the capping at those schools? Will the caps be removed?

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Eswar Arranagu 15 days ago

We purchased home in Preserve at white oak creek and main reason is traditional elementary school, proposed idea is bad and need to re considered to accommodate new communities to be built not ones recently completed. The proposed school is a year-round school which we cannot accommodate because of nature of our work. And the proposed school's rating is below average on greatschools.org. It will be great stress on kids and families to adjust into a new school especially when we know that it would directly impact kids academic performance. The proposed school is far off and requires multiple busy highways 1600/540/64/55/1611 commute in the morning/evening rush hours, which leads to safety and longer commute time. This is unfair practice to the families, who have invested in the properties which are falling in the school zone community of their choice after doing so much of research. In a nutshell WCPSS shouldn't support time to time rezoning at least for the existing families and rather promote a stronger foundation for kids by uplifting the education standards, stability along with bringing in more avenues to address school overcrowding issues. Since it is not just rezoning/relocating to a new school building or changing the bus routes. It is definitely much more complex and sensitive topic than that especially when kids education is at stake.

8 Votes
 
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Naz Khan 15 days ago

In Addition to my previous comment We looked at a community closer from PWO last year in September (schools were YR) . I called wcpss and asked for a transfer and they said we have received so many transfer requests that we will be denying majority so if you want to buy a house and YR doesn't work for you please consider a neighborhood with traditional schools.. and that is why we bought a house in PWO!!

11 Votes
 
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Prithvidhar R Bojja 15 days ago

Thank you for coming up with a proposal to change ES & MS to certain communities. I am resident of Preserve of White Oak Creek community, we've been assigned Salem ES & Salem MS for the year 2020-21, I personally do NOT welcome this change. Below are the two reasons i think it affects our child directly 1. Transportation Challenges - i took some time this week to drive to Salem ES just to get a feel of the drive and possible challenges, I had to get on 2 highways to get there, i wouldn't be comfortable to send my kid on highways every weekday to get to his ES. I am sure this is concern to many other parents out there.

  1. Emotional attachment - My child is emotionally attached to his school & would unfortunately make him extremely unhappy and stressed out to get over this change. I am not very confident I want my little one to go through all this. I'm sure every other child would go through the same amount of stress when asked to go to a new school.

  2. Head Count - I've been told several times White Oak ES hasn't reached the head count or even close to it, why is this so called 'pro-active' uncalled for measure being proposed when the children head count is not maxed.

  3. Home Purchase - we've picked this community to purchase our house specifically to send our child to a 'newer' ES which has a traditional academic curriculum followed just for mere convenience of aligning ourselves with a traditional school calendar.Its just not my child but it disrupts my professional commitments and jeopardizes lot more things which makes it stressful to our entire family.

Taking into account the above reasons i personally have, i kindly request authorities to stop making our community preserve at white oak creek a part of your social experiment. This will affect my child & lot other children out there who i am not sure are ready given their age to go through this mental & emotional stress of changing schools. I once again, sincerely request WCPSS to assign existing base schools White Oak ES & Mills Park MS to our community.

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James Bernier 15 days ago

Thank you for sharing the draft material and providing the opportunity for feedback. I understand that rezoning is necessary, but it should only occur occasionally and only as genuinely needed. As mentioned by many parents, changing schools is a hardship on children and their parents. Such hardships should only be placed on children when absolutely needed to address a real problem. I have had to move my four kids various times over their lives and it has NEVER been easy. Sure, they adapt, but it leaves a mark. As a former guardian ad litem with judicial courts, I know for a fact that children need stability and predictability. They need to know that the home, school, and people around them will last, at least for some years. Academics are not the only factors in a child’s development. Rather, our kids’ social relationships are very important too. Such relationships are difficult to form, foster and maintain if there isn’t a sense of stability. I don’t think this is being considered adequately in the rezoning of schools, and I don’t think that the proposed rezoning is the necessary way to address the Board’s concerns. In my case in particular, my community is not just being rezoned to a different school, but the school format is changing from traditional to year round. That will not only place a hardship on my children and the children in my community, but also places a very real economic hardship on me and my wife, who both work, and on other working parents. My wife and I moved from Cary to Apex and bought a home in the Preserve at White Oak. We specifically bought into this neighborhood because of its location and its zoning for traditional schools, specifically Mills park Middle School. Moving from Traditional to YR is a major issue. We have all our work planned around this calendar.

I also agree with Nate Green and quote him as follows: “There are two developments on Jenks Road; Preserve @ White Oak and Westford. The Preserve @ White Oak community is largely built out (only a few houses remain) and enrollment numbers should have leveled off or stabilized in this neighborhood. The other neighborhood Westford has just begun construction with townhouses and single families being actively built (around 300) and continued development of an 300 unit apartment complex, some of which are already occupied. It would be my guess that long-term this development represents a much higher degree of impact on enrollment numbers as the other is already built into current capacity.

Would it not be a better solution to leave the existing established neighborhood intact where children that have lived here 2-3 years can maintain stability at their school, and preserve existing social structures while re-zoning the base school assignment for the new construction area that has not yet been established and includes people that are mostly new to the base zone?”

Thank you for considering our input seriously. It is important to me and my community that our elected officials carefully consider our feedback, act only as absolutely necessary, and act in such a way that it minimizes the impacts on our children.

19 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 04, 2019 at 2:00pm EDT

James, we are looking into the questions about new developments and will post additional information next week.

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Praneesh Jayaraj 15 days ago

I am a resident at the Preserve at White oak community and the main reason I purchased a home there is because of the proximity to the school. But now that WCPSS has proposed a re assignment to Salem Elementary I have a couple of questions •

• This practice of reassigning students to a different school and especially from Traditional to year-round is going to psychologically affect the kids and cause a paradigm shift for the entire family. Was that considered before this proposal ? • Since WPSS has already followed this practice of reassigning schools, has there been data collected on the performance of the students after they were reassigned ? What were the feedback from parents of students who were reassigned especially a move from Traditional to year round. What was the intensity of the mental stress the students went through. Has any of these been recorded ?

• Education systems around the world have been working on improvising to understand children behavior and ensure a comfortable, assuring, reliable environment for their students.. While we here on the other side are taking a child out of her comfort zone and introducing them into a discomfort zone. How does a proposal that involve a child’s mental disruption be a beneficial one ?

• What are the reasons behind the proposal of reassigning existing students vs students that are yet to be enrolled in the school. Imagine a similar situation where you work for a company and after couple of years the company’s workspace has reached maximum capacity so it decides that you need to work for a different company now instead of pausing the hiring process.

• WCPSS needs to do more research on the after effects of reassigned students and have a more deep study before proposing something like this.

The board needs to consider how this proposal is going to drastically affect the children and the family and kindly request the board to leave the school assignment for Preserve at white oak community as White oak elementary.

17 Votes
 
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Hi, after really waiting 5 to 6 years, we finally bought a home at Preserve at white Oak by considering the school zone that come under this community. Even though this location is far from my work place, we have selected this community due to its school location (White Oak ES - Traditional). After seeing this draft plan, we are really disappointed and again need to re-plan my kid’s schooling. It will be great help if you consider keeping kids under this community (Preserve at white oak) for White Oak ES, Mills Park Middle and Panther Creek High.

10 Votes
 
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Samarendra Kishore 15 days ago

Thanks for sharing the draft. I agree that rezoning might happen time to time, but county also need to look into our point of view. We prefer traditional calendar and love our current school assigned to us for Preserve at white Oak commnunity. It's unfortunate that county is pondering over rezoning this area and move us to Salem Elementary and Salem Middle. The whole area has still tremendous growth and will remain to do so in coming years. The decision of rezoning should happen based on resident convenience and their preferences. We all have bought property in this area due to White Oak and Mils Park schools. Their ranking is good. Why do we need to move our kids to a new school when current school option is really good. Any new families coming to this area can be rezoned. We already have selected our option and based on that we decided to leave in this community. Hopefully Wake county public school system will understand our point of view.

10 Votes
 
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Khushbu Sharma 15 days ago

Thank you for providing the draft material and providing us an oppurtunity and platform to voice out opinions. I am a resident of Preserve at White oaks community and we will be directly affected by this proposed change. As a parent of a child who just started kindergarten this year and is still getting accustomed to her new environment, I am very concerned about this change mainly because it will affect the overall well being of my child. Going into a kindergarten is a big deal, and for months now we have been talking about it, reading books about it, helping her calm her nerves about school anxiety, trying our best to help her settle into her new life/ new school. She is still settling down and warming up to her school. I think it is so unfair for her to be pulled out and rezoned to a different school, different setting just few months into her schooling life. We as a parent want her to have positive experiences and easy transitioning and change will totally uproot all that we have worked on for months and we will have to start it from scratch. It will have an adverse effect on my child and not to mention the mental stress. Also, I wanted to touch the upon the safety and distance and higher commute time to the proposed schools from our community. WOES is closer to Preserve at white oks and has shorter commute times and through smaller/safer/ less congested roads where as to get to the proposed school our kids have to commute through highly congested highways during peak hours and this is a safety concern for us. The entire idea of a public school system to have something closer to home and I am not comfortable with the idea of our children having to cross busy highways every morning just to get to school. I totally understand the need to reassign and with all the growth and development happening in and around us but I request you to assign the new communities/ and new build to the proposed Salem schools and to leave the one’s where kids are already settled as is. I really hope our concerns will be heard.

Thank you!

13 Votes
 
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Ankita Chaturvedi 15 days ago

Hello, I am a resident of Preserve at White Oak creek. My son goes to White oak elementary. We cannot condone the proposed rezoning. 1.) We bought a house in this neighborhood only becoz of good elementary and middle schools that were assigned. We prefer a traditional style of calendar. Salem elementary and middle are Year round.

2 .) We are a small sub-division and our kids have settled well in their current school. It would be better if you rezone the new and bigger communities where ppl have not yet moved-in.

3.) Our kid is a 4th grader. I understand he would be allowed to grandfather next year at WOE. But, his middle school would be salem middle school which, as per the official EOG results, is a below-standard school. This change would adversely affect his education and of all the other students who are being moved from such a high-achieving schools, such as Mills Park middle school and White oak elementary.

4 ) The commute time to and back from the school would also increase and add to the burden on the kids who are already exhausted after spending a long day at school.

Hence, i request you to kindly reconsider this rezoning and let the old school assignments stay.

Thanks.

11 Votes
 
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Manasi Pa 15 days ago

Appreciate there being a platform such as this to share our deepest concerns, angst, developing uncertainty, high impact risks and nervous trepidation around a proposed life changing move – proposed base school reassignment from White Oak Elementary to Salem ES and Mills Park Middle to Sales MS. This has long-term implications for child development, family stability, economic wellbeing and mental health and peace of all concerned and for the Preserve at White Oak community at large that we call home.

We vehemently oppose this move and request that the esteemed members of the school board review this proposed decision with utmost care, consciousness and carefully consider the facts presented below:

As an academically inclined, engaged, and socially conscious family, we are shocked by this sudden proposal which appears rather reckless, lacks solid justification and stands on shaky ground.

Like several others in this community, we moved here given the solid assurance of a new school which had stellar reviews, excellent academic performance, brand-new facilities, great teachers and highly capable, honest and sincere administrators in the form of its Principal, Mrs. Robin Swaim and Assistant Principal, Mr. Kevin Boynton. We moved from another state where my wife’s commute to work was 6 minutes to here where she communities an hour each way to be able to live at PWO because it serves White Oak elementary and Mills Park middle schools. These are the sacrifices we make as parents, just to ensure that our children can get a high quality education.

On-Site Reassurance from White Oak Staff and Administration and Referenced Data:

We have toured the White Oak School multiple times, both before making a purchase decision of our new home in the Preserve at White Oak Community, and even after moving into our home here. Our second tour of White Oak Elementary in January 2019 was given by Assistant Principal Mr Kevin Boynton who talked about how brand new the school was, how it was not capped and had no indications of getting capped given that it had a capacity of nearly 900. We felt very assured that the drastic shifts that happen due to capping in other parts of town were averted by moving further down Highway 55 and by emptying our life’s savings to buy a fairly expensive home just to ensure that our children get a shot at an excellent education at the neighborhood school – The White Oak School.

On our most recent school tour on Sep 17th, 2019 at 10:00 AM given by the Data Manager there were questions from concerned parents about capping etc and she Categorically and Repeatedly Mentioned that:

“This school is far from getting capped as we were built to take on more capacity”

“We are an overflow school, we are at under 50% of our capacity”

“We have a capacity of over 900 or so we are currently at half of that, 480 or so.”

“We are growing but it will still be few years before we get capped”

Notwithstanding, these assurances, verified data points from very capable, honest and senior school administrators and data managers, and inputs from neighbors who have their kids going to the White Oak School, we still see the school board making a proposal to move the base school to Salem. What is the basis for this? Future extrapolation seems without a solid basis in current data. If there is such a big problem then cap White Oak like other schools have been capped. That way those of us that chose this community, invested in it, committed to its growth and development will reap the benefit of our presence here. Newer folks that move into or plan to move to the area can then make a more informed decision and choice rather than being given a “Fait Accompli”.

By following this approach the esteemed school board will also protect, shield, and indemnify itself against rumors and accusations about a nexus with the builder lobby and such other inferences that people are being forced to draw. The data and facts point to a very different direction than what the school board is pointing towards with its “suggested extrapolation of growth and capacity”.

Comparison between White Oak Elementary/Mills park Middle and Salem ES/MS:

White Oak is a Traditional Calendar School and Salem Elementary is a year-round school which does not work for us.

Academic Level is Much Lower for Salem ES compared to the academic excellence at White Oak. The same is true for Salem Middle in comparison with Mills Park Middle School. The NC School report data also categorically proves this fact. The facilities in Salem are much older than White Oak. This reference comes directly from an acquaintance who has a child at Salem ES and is not happy with the new management at the school.

White Oak is not an under-enrolled school, not overcrowded school yet.

Safety:

Our community is one of the last stop for pick up via the School Bus and the first drop off point after school allowing more time to the children to devote to hobbies, sports, cultural and other academic interests. Moving away to a school that is at a greater distance, increases travel time and time spent on the school bus, and hence, leaves less time for the children to pursue other interests and this seems like a very unfair choice that is being proposed and is not in the best interest of the children living in the Preserve at White Oak Community. Interestingly, even our community name has “White Oak” in it and now you want to detach it from its very own community school- The White Oak School. Why single us out, target us and be so unfair to us?

Our children will have to negotiate a more treacherous bus route with the highly accident prone stop signs, traffic lights and heavy rush hour traffic on highway 55. Why does the school board want to put our kids at an increased risk of accidents with more travel time when there is a school right in our backyard that has capacity?

I would like to reiterate what Steven Ray already mentioned above that West of 540, we are the only structured community that is proposed to be uprooted and rezoned to Salem Elementary and Middle School. All the other areas are green open spaces, farm land or some commercial entities which do not have any school going children. There is also a senior living facility in that large tract of land. Certainly, the preserve at white oak community is a stark exception to these generally unaffected entities. Hence, the Preserve at White Oak Community is being unfairly targeted. `

We are a family of four with a rising kindergartener who until yesterday had been singing a song that went “White Oak, I-Pad, New School, New Playground”. He is oblivious to the larger dynamics and forces at play here that may likely impact his near-term life and educational prospects, as well as have lasting longer-term effects on his academic choices and career path.

Salem Elementary and Middle School are in district 9 represented by board member Mr Bill Fletcher, while we here in the Preserve at White Oak Community live and vote in district 8 represented by board member Ms Lindsay Mahaffey. This causes a serious issue of lack of representation via the proposed changes.

We hope you will agree that the right decision is to leave our school assignments as the White Oak Elementary and Mills Park Middle School. If this doesn’t happen, we will move our kids to Private or charter schools and we will ensure that they are not made into lab rats and that they do not attend an inferior school like Salem that we did not intend for their education and growth.

  • Manasi & Sid Basu, Ph.D
14 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 04, 2019 at 1:59pm EDT

Manasi, our staff is looking to the issues you and others have raised. We will provide more information in an FAQ next week.

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Pooja Chigurupati 15 days ago

We moved into Preserve at white oak considering the traditional calendars of schools. It is not good to change this suddenly which will impact kids and parents. This is not a fair move from wcpss side and it is also sad that wcpss has not considered kids safety when they have to travel crossing the highways. I object this and please reconsider your decision on changing the schools.

7 Votes
 
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Nimmy Sasidharan 15 days ago

Hi,

I’m the mom of two girls who have been going to White Oak elementary for the past one year. My kids have a few more elementary school years left. We moved from New Jersey last year due to the excellent reputation of Wake County schools relative to the schools back in NJ.

My husband and I toiled for more than a decade in NJ, sacrificed a lot, saved up some money and finally after much thought, deliberation and unavoidable immigration-related struggles, decided to buy a small home in Apex. We heard only good things about the White Oak Elementary School (WOES) and so finally bought a home just 2 miles away from WOES (Preserve At White Oak subdivision).

Good subdivision, good school, suitable school calendar (traditional) and what not! Everything seemed like a dream-come-true for us. I’m a working mom and my husband travels 90% of the time due to the nature of his job. Given these career and personal circumstances, we always wanted a Traditional School and WOES was a perfect fit. Our 10 years of struggle has finally bore fruit, it all worked well, or I thought so?

Yesterday, we learnt about the new proposed school re-assignments. This is a change that is drastically going to affect our lives – both kids, parents and our overall life-balance. Our disappointment had no bounds. All our dreams of a perfectly balanced and happy life seems suddenly shattered due to the sudden decision about school re-zoning

This is just my family’s story - just one among several who have already voiced their concerns in this forum and few remaining others who are certainly going to voice their concerns here in the next few hours. This is certainly not the fairest of decisions on your part. Please keep in mind that everybody affected are undergoing unprecedented emotional ordeals due to the school re-assignments. Note, this is less about home values or some external / 3rd party school ratings but more about well settled lives, smooth careers, happy families and the friendships our kids develop with their friends in school and the attachment they nurtured with their teachers.

Everything has been running smoothly like a clockwork, now your new proposal is going to make everything fall apart. Do you really think this is fair?

In addition to the overall emotional ordeal, I would also like to share a few more pointers for your kind consideration. I have spoken to other parents in my neighborhood and there is a clear consensus on the concerns a few of which I am listing below for you.

  1. Change of school calendar from traditional (WOES) to an year round (Salem) cannot get more inconvenient. Please remember, every parent has a reason for choosing a particular calendar.
  2. Commute distance has literally more than doubled - from 2 miles to 5.5 miles. Please let us stay in school that is only 5 minutes away. Think about the safety of crossing multiple crowded highways and increased traffic.
  3. It is going to be a very trying ordeal for a child to switch schools. Please think about the stress and behavioral issues due to these sudden changes. Transition is going to be hard especially at this tender age.
  4. This decision of re-zoning is singling out our neighborhood (Preserve at White Oak) and is causing a huge disruption to our children, without doing anything to actually meet your goals of reducing crowding in WOES. By removing a negligible 3 or 4 kids from each grade, you will still NOT be any closer to removing any caps in WOES and you will still have the same overcrowding issues you had before this draft. You are causing a major disruption in our lives.

To be fair, you may want to consider only brand new constructions to be included as part of Salem ES instead of existing and settled subdivisions like Preserve at White Oak Please, kindly re-consider your decision and propose something that is fair to existing students/families. Grandfathering is only a short-lived solution. You should allow established families to continue with their current schools, including transportation.

Awaiting in anticipation.

Thanks, Nimmy Sasidharan

13 Votes
 
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Parvinder Kaur 14 days ago

The proposed assignment plan is disruptive and not in our kids' best interest or consistent with the stated Board pillar of Stability. According to Draft 1 of the proposal, students in Preserve at White Oak will be moved to a new calendar option. The proposed re-assignment is not only a school change, but also a calendar change. Preserve at White Oak has already supported the Boards decision last year when the Base High school was changed from Panther Creek to Green Level High School and now, we have to go through it one more time, why? Many families have moved from out of state and kids have adjusted to not only the new state but also to the new culture. Now, after going through such big changes, making new friends and trusting their teachers, the kids are being switched to a new school which is a year-round school? That's a lot of change in such a small timeframe and a lot of emotion/psychological stress for kids at such young ages. This is not in support of student achievement, this can cause a negative result in our kid’s academic achievements. We are not being given the opportunity and right to apply for the schools we recognized the best for our kids’ achievements. How is this considered Student Achievement or stability?

The proposed assignment plan is not consistent with the stated Board pillar of Proximity, the current schools are well within the immediate vicinity of Preserve at White oak neighborhood so why are the elementary school kids being put into a situation where they will need to spend more time on the roads travelling across major intersections/highways. How is this an improvement towards transportation efficiency? This is really disturbing to us.

Based on the data provided on slides 26 for MS the percentage of kids moving from MPMS to SMS are only 3-4% or I should say probably ~50students; what is the need to make such changes when the impact is minimal and insignificant? Why not consider rezoning new developments and project for bigger impact and less disruption to the existing students. Similarly, on slide 23 for ES’s, if we compare the utilization between SES and WOES excluding the trailers as WOES do not have any trailers available at this point, we are overcrowding the SES NOT WOES. How does this plan fit in the standards of the Board?? This is unnecessary and less efficient in our opinion.

If all these numbers are based on a projection, then why not just reconsider rezoning the new construction at the time city gives them the permit to build and cause overcrowding. Why are we not focusing on the real source of issue and put a better fix rather than putting Band-Aids? We have also supported the fact that Mills Park is capped and any enrollments into 7th or 8th grade are based on availability. Why not consider capping WOES when it reaches its maximum capacity? And based on the number of years you have been in the same address you get the priority to get into the school, this way it will be less disruptive and more welcomed by the community instead of moving kids from their existing enrollments.

The school board has an obligation to the community to provide stability for the educational needs of the children in the school district. We also understand that the responsibility the board has to evaluate student achievements; however, there are many other ways to boast a school performance like provide better tools, new technology, evaluating the needs of the teachers to motivate kids, or provide more funding to under performing schools, instead of taking the kids from one school and putting them in a situation where they may end-up as the under performers.

I completely understand that new construction is affecting the projected number of students within the WOE and MPM base area and adjustments to the overall base map may be necessary. However, I also believe there are other options, like add the new constructions that are being added in the zones allocated for the overcrowded schools to the underutilized/underperforming schools and not the established communities where people have invested their time and savings only to get their kids a better education for a healthy future. We simply feel that it is less disruptive to reassign neighborhoods that are at the initial phases of development with the potential for large numbers of students to move in rather than neighborhoods like ours that are essentially finished.

We hope that the board considers how this change can affect the academics and health of the kids. We will appreciate if our opinion is considered to make changes to the draft.

14 Votes
 
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Nithya Uppalapati 14 days ago

I am a resident of Preserve at White oak. My kid used to go to Alston Ridge earlier which is an YR school and the main reason we moved to this place is that WOES follows Traditional Calendar and can plan for summer vacations to visit our families in overseas. With the proposed rezoning we are again assigned to YR school. All the research and effort we have put for finding a good school and property will be of no use. Please consider our feedback's and rethink on reassignment of schools.

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Jeevan Bussari 14 days ago

Thank you for the draft, but as you could thus far see, the decision is most unwelcomed by majority of the residents here. As for me, we have recently moved into Preserve at White Oak Creek neighborhood after a lot a deliberation within the family – buying a home was the most stressful process for us and despite the home not being to everyone’s liking, we decided to pay the premium and buy this home only for the schools the neighborhood was assigned to. We choose this neighborhood after adjusting all our schedules and sacrificing the shorter commute to work – the yr round option would just mess up all our planning thus far. Certain conditions do necessitate the rezoning, but we should try not to disturb the existing assignments, but reassign the new neighborhoods – more importantly after giving them enough notice so they can make an informed decision. I am surprised that such experienced staff who have had exemplary skill of working with students and designing their curriculum are not able to consider the challenge the students would have to go thru in changing from a traditional schooling to year round schooling – Not expected!!

10 Votes
 
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Kavitha YR 14 days ago

We bought house in the Preserve at white Oak neighborhood specifically that kids can attend a Traditional school ( WOES and MillsPark middle) and not a YR school. Please Consider not to make any changes for existing students. rezoning should be considered for new development.

7 Votes
 
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Catherine Shuford 14 days ago

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the proposed zoning changes for The Preserve at White Oak community. My husband and I greatly oppose this change. Like many others in my neighborhood, my husband and I spent a lot of time researching homes and chose our home based on the schools (White Oak Elementary in particular). We have two young children - 4 (will be going to kindergarten in 2020-2021) and 3.5 (will be going to kindergarten in 2021-2022). In planning for our children's education, we moved from Mebane, NC (Alamance County) to be in a better school district and to the Preserve at White Oak because we would be zoned for a highly rated traditional school. Our current house (though not much larger than our previous house in Mebane) is almost twice as expensive because it is in Wake County in a highly desirable area with great schools. We could have purchased a less expensive home in Wake County that was zoned for a year-round school, but a year-round calendar is not conducive to our work schools. As we were building our house, I was constantly checking the Wake County School System website to verify that we had not been "capped" out of White Oak Elementary. In fact, the first thing I did after closing on the house was to double check that my children would be going to White Oak considering that was the main reason for us relocating to this specific neighborhood. Further, my husband travels 60 minutes to his job in Burlington because he is committed to providing the best education possible for his children. With the proposed school change, his commute would lengthen which would negatively impact his time spent with his family. I think it is unacceptable for Wake County School System to even be considering this proposed change. Further, we are disappointed that WCSS would even consider uprooting young children --- you are not showing the county that you are committed to the success of your students. Please remember that the residents in this neighborhood purchased homes in this community based on schools! Preserve at White Oak is a nearly complete community that was zoned for a traditional school that did not have a cap on it when all of the residents moved to the community. Please consider capping this school for future developments and allow our children to attend our originally zoned schools. If you choose to listen to our request and change the proposal, please do not attempt to re-zone us year after year like Ashley Woods. This entire process has been extremely stressful to our family and neighborhood and honestly we feel like the hammer could drop at any moment forcing our children to be uprooted out of their established school. Again, thank you for providing this forum for discussion and please consider our requests.

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jagroop singh 14 days ago

Thank you for providing this platform and letting us raise our concerns with this proposal. It is so disappointing to see the board feels the need to rezone kids from their established schools to a new school and thinks this will increase the academic progress of an underperforming school. The board should not only consider student performance or low income but also consider how kids feel with these changes. This proposal of rezoning kids from one school to another is based on the projected growth of the area however as a lot of comments in the feedbacks above show the majority of the area is either farmland or commercial then where are these kids coming from? If the whole issue is to reduce overcrowding, then the current system to cap a school and redirect kids to overflow schools already is in place. You can always use the under-utilized schools as the overflow schools. We recently moved from another state and bought a house after spending a lot of our time traveling to see which community can provide a similar environment to our kids and settled in Preserve at White Oak. Our kids have taken a long time making new friends, getting used to the new schools and the new culture. Now when they have friends and started getting comfortable, we are being rezoned, really? They have to not only lose their friends at school, but they also have to learn what this whole Year-Round calendar option is. We have three kids and they will be in all different schools ES, MS, and HS, so basically, we will be in a situation where we cannot plan vacations, the kids cannot spend their vacations together and not just that their best friends will be a different calendar year. My younger daughter a rising 6th grader next year will lose her best friends who will attend MPMS and won’t be in the same school schedule as her older sister, is already crying to hear about the changes and stressed. I’m sure there are other parents who will go through a very similar situation, kids will be traumatized, and this could affect their academic performance as well as health. No parent and board want to pay such a price. If this whole process is about making a healthy and successful future, then this rezoning existing communities to make room for the future communities is the most unthoughtful and inefficient plan. This only makes sense when a new school is opened, and we need to fill it. Also, we had chosen this community based on the base schools that were assigned and especially we wanted a traditional school. Now that WCPS decided to change that from traditional to year-round we both work and how we suppose to manage with the 3 weeks vacation they get 4 times a year. Not many parents get 12 weeks vacation. We are very strongly against this move from WCPS as this will create chaos in our families and the year-round choice is being forced on us. We are strongly against this proposed change. we ask the board to seriously reconsider this decision.

11 Votes
 
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Ketan Thakkar 14 days ago

After searching for more than a year, we finally decided to buy our new house in Preserve at White Oak Creek neighborhood. Our number one priority was good traditional calendar schools with assigned busing service for the community. Now just after a year in White Oak Elementary School we will be assigned to year around school with this proposed re-zoning. It is totally un-fair to parents and kids alike and we urge strongly to re-consider this decision.

10 Votes
 
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Ann Gooch 14 days ago

Hello again.
I am a parent of 4 Wake County Public School students and I am a resident of Ashley Woods. Ashley Woods is a small, established neighborhood with a relatively small number of students. We have been assigned to Highcroft Drive Elementary and Mills Park MS since those schools opened 15 and 10 years ago, respectively. My family includes 4 of those students; next year, we will have 1 child in ES, 2 children in MS, and one who will be entering 9th grade at Green Level HS. We have attended Highcroft for the past 9 years and hopefully 2 more. I spoke with you last year with many of the same concerns and am frustrated that our little neighborhood is being targeted again. 1. The proposed assignment plan is disruptive and not in our kids' best interest or consistent with the stated Board pillar of Stability. According to Draft 1 of the proposal, students in Ashley Woods will be moved to a new calendar and feeder pattern (Salem ES to Salem MS to Green Level HS). The proposed re-assignment is not only a school change, but also a calendar change for Ashley Woods, who has already gone through multiple calendar changes, one of which was in the past 5 years. There was a year-round to single track (Track 4) change in 2011/2012, and then a switch from single track (Track 4) to traditional in 2016-2017. Families adjusted and we have been aligned (ES, MS, and HS) on traditional for just 3 years. Now, we are being switched back to year-round? That's a lot of change in the span of four years, and even more in the span of under ten. For families like mine, we have endured all of those calendar changes and are facing a new 6 years of calendar misalignment if this proposal moves forward. How is this considered “stability” for our students? I acknowledge the traditional calendar options, but those options are so disruptive that every time a child transitions from ES to MS and MS to HS, they will essentially transition with no peers and have to socially start all over again. This option is definitely not in the students’ best interest and I cannot believe that the Board would endorse this as an acceptable solution.
2. The small number of students from Ashley Woods will not have a meaningful impact on overcrowding at Highcroft ES or Mills Park MS which is the stated purpose for this reassignment. Ashley Woods is a small, established neighborhood that has not grown in the past 15 years and will not grow in the future. Ashley Woods does not represent a large number of students (39 students attend Highcroft and an estimated 15-20 attend Mills Park MS). The shaded area in the Highcroft / Mills Park re-assignment map is extremely misleading, as it looks like it represents a large number of students in a growing area. The shaded area actually represents 39 Highcroft students and 15-20 Mills Park students and the rest is undeveloped farm land. The Town of Cary's plan for that entire area outside of the Ashley Woods and Branton Drive, is only a hope and a plan for a large commercial area called the Green Level Destination Center by 2040. It is currently privately owned farm land and represents no students in the near future. The fact is the plan is only rezoning approximately 40 kids from Highcroft ES and 15-20 kids from Mills Park MS, all coming from Ashley Woods and Branton Drive. Removing a few kids from each grade will not reduce overcrowding or remove the caps in place at these schools. But it will be a major negative disruption in the lives of our students and families.
3. Why Ashley Woods? We would like to understand why Ashley Woods and Branton Drive continually are singled out for these re-assignments, and other neighborhoods which geographically and statistically would make more sense to reduce overcrowding, are not. It is a hard pill to swallow when we are being sent out of these schools we have attended for 9 years (in the case of my family), while the new high density construction responsible for the overcrowding gets to stay.
There are newer, much more dense, growing neighborhoods west off 540 that are much more out of place in the Highcroft zone, and are already surrounded by Salem ES assigned neighborhoods. There are newer, much more dense, growing neighborhoods on the north end of the Highcroft base attendance area that have a new ES and MS proximate to them. Why are they not being considered instead?
If the BOE is concerned about the Green Level destination Center, perhaps assigning the undeveloped land to Salem ES and MS (like the other random purple areas) would relieve those concerns without disrupting the Ashley Woods families. The parents and families of Ashley Woods have invested a lot of time and energy into the PTA and other programs at Highcroft ES and Mills Park MS since the schools have opened. We have endured multiple calendar changes and multiple attempts to move us to new schools without a solid justification. Our neighborhood is a small neighborhood that doesn't make a significant impact on the enrollment numbers for the affected schools. I hope you find this additional information not presented during the work session helpful and I hope that in the next revision, the board finds that the Highcroft ES, Mills Park MS and Green Level HS is the logical placement for Ashley Woods students.

5 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 09, 2019 at 8:37am EDT

Hi Ann

1) No but staff can consider changing the traditional application school to one that does if this is important. Green Hope was chosen due to proximity.

2) Yes, students that calendar out of Salem MS to Apex MS also go to Green Level HS.

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Matt Dees admin at October 04, 2019 at 1:57pm EDT

Ann, our staff is looking to the issues you and others have raised. We will provide more information in an FAQ next week.

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Ann Gooch at October 07, 2019 at 9:16am EDT

Thanks, Matt. FOr your FAQ, I have a few more questions: 1. If this plan goes through, will we be guaranteed seats in the traditional application schools (Green Hope ES and Apex Middle)? 2. If families choose a traditional calendar option, will anyone else from Green Hope ES go to Apex Middle besides Ashley Woods students? Likewise, will anyone else go from Apex Middle to Green Level HS besides Ashley Woods students? Thanks, Ann

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Margi Thakkar 14 days ago

We bought our house in Preserve at White Oak Creek. Our house is still under construction but I have started my daughter's school at White Oak elementary because I did not want her to move school in the middle of the year. Now with this re-zoning she will have to change school again next year. It is very difficult process to get adjusted to new school and it is  even bigger adjustment if the school is Year around. Traditional school was one of the MAJOR criteria for us in buying  house in this community. We have not even moved in our new house and to deal with re-zoning of schools  is very sad and unfair to home owners like us. I would strongly advise against it and request you to reconsider this decision.

9 Votes
 
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Sara Curwen at October 04, 2019 at 10:24am EDT

I get it...schools in Western Wake are crowded from the rapid population growth.  What I don't understand is how uprooting the lives of children, established at their currently assigned schools, can be seen as an acceptable option.  What good comes from adding unnecessary stress and anxiety to a child's life?  It's easy to look at a map, shift boundaries around and "solve" the overcrowding issue for the next year.  But, by shifting boundaries, you are affecting real children and their families.  My family has lived in Preserve at White Oak for over 2 years.  This is my youngest son's third year at White Oak Elementary.  My older son is attending Mills Park Middle for 6th grade after attending White Oak for 4th and 5th grades.  They have a network of friends, an established support system, that will all come crumbling down once they are forced to move to a new school.  And for what?  To give someone else who hasn't moved into the area yet or moved here after us, the opportunity to take our place?  

This same exact scenario happened to us when we lived in Morrisville after 10 years.  One day a new school enrollment plan was released and we discovered we were being reassigned to a new school...a year-round school, something that just does not work for our family.  In the end, we, along with many other affected families, were able to make our case and were, thankfully, allowed to stay with our existing school assignment (the school was capped instead).  So, it seems no matter where we are in Wake County or for how long we've been there, there's always a threat of a changing school assignment hanging over our heads.  We should not have to be worried every year that there may be a chance we will be forced to switch schools. It seems like the only time we will finally be able breathe a sigh of relief is when our boys go off to college.  That is NOT okay.

Is White Oak overcrowded?  No...it has definitely seen growth, but it is not currently at capacity. When it does reach capacity, then please look at capping the school and/or adding modular units instead of displacing us.  Why disrupt our son's remaining school years at White Oak and his potential growth with a move to another school?  

Is Mill Park crowded?  Yes, but the cap has seemed to helped.  There is room in the school for my son and other other children in my community this year, so why won't there be room for our children next year?  

While year-round schools certainly allow more students to attend, they are not the right fit for every family.  When buying our home, the fact that our base schools were traditional played heavily into our decision-making process.  Now, we are being told that our base school is year-round.  Sure, we can go through the application process to attend the traditional option, but we aren't guaranteed a spot.  Making such an impactful decision as changing the calendar option of a person's base school without knowing the affect on the children and families involved or their situations is callous. I truly hope you take all the feedback to heart and see how this change is not good one - not for my family or any of the other Preserve at White Oak families (and elsewhere) who have shared their comments.

In the words of my 8 year-old son, "We live in Preserve at White Oak so we have to go to White Oak.  Otherwise, it doesn't make sense."

20 Votes
 
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Arti Balan at October 04, 2019 at 2:50pm EDT

I am a resident at Preserve at White oak and support all the above comments . The proposal to change our base schools will disrupt lives of our kids in every way. First of all we put all our hard earned money to move in this community which clearly promised traditional calender . An year round calender doesn't work for most of the families here. Kids have made their connections for last 2-3 years .They identify themselves with all these connections and they are at certain academic level . This proposal is simply not in their best interest . Why is rezoning done to the established communities ?. As soon as we are completely established , our base schools are changed . Why?. I hope that board assigns salem schools to the new developments so they know what they are getting .Salem schools are the same distance to these upcoming new developments . So why target the established community like ours .Alston ridge middle could also help with over crowding. That area has an year round elementry and families welcomed year round middle school .Not sure why we are picked to change to a completely different calender option . Also considering the transit time to go to Salem schools , this is not a best option. Those areas are very high traffic areas during peak times. I request the board to understand the effects of this proposal on our children . We need to maintain stability and meaning connections for children . Please also consider safety during the bus commute.Thank you .

16 Votes
 
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Siva Dandu at October 04, 2019 at 3:20pm EDT

Moving from Traditional to YR school is a MAJOR issue for my family. My Son goes to White Oak elementary. We bought house at Preserve at White Oak Creek neighborhood considering base school zone which is “White Oak ES” and “Mills Park Middle”. This is not acceptable and affecting us and our kids. Any rezoning should be considered for new development instead of existing one. Please consider not to make any changes for existing students.

12 Votes
 
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Hailey Theile at October 04, 2019 at 4:57pm EDT

FACTS for consideration: Highcroft just confirmed that the number of elementary children from Ashley Woods is 39. There are 7 kindergarten classes. This is not even removing a whole person from each class. And these are stagnant numbers of children that may even go down since Ashley Woods (est 24 years ago) is getting older, not younger.

As you can see by this first image from the Town of Cary Interactive Development map (https://www.townofcary.org/projects-initiatives/maps/interactive-development-map), the Green Level area east of 540 has no plans for development aside from the tiny blue and green boxes sited for office spaces. So you are pulling this handful of kids out of Highcroft, but to what longterm end?

There is development forthcoming in a much denser area of Highcroft’s base north of Green Hope School Road. Twyla Road North was rezoned on 9/27/19 and is 36.84 acres that “includes a mix of multi-family, commercial/retail use, hotel use, and associated amenities.” Twyla Road South (blue area below) is 19.08 similar acres awaiting rezoning approval. As you can see, part of this area is approved for multi-family residential use.

Again, It makes no sense to reassign the 39 elementary kids and estimated 20 middle from stagnant Ashley Woods and farmland that may or may not ever be sold and zoned for residential use. This will ultimately not relieve Highcroft/Mills Park crowding issues. There are much denser areas of children in Highcroft’s base that actually include zoned mixed/residential development areas.

Parkside, Carpenter, Alston Ridge, Davis Drive, Green Hope, and Morrisville are all elementary schools in that area without caps. Salem is still only about a 5 mile and 10 minute drive from this crowded area north of Green Hope School Road. When looking at the facts and data surrounding Highcroft, the only real ways to alleviate crowding issues seem to be leaving the cap in place until a new school can go up, moving a crowded area to an existing school, or changing it back to year round. I would support any reasonable fact/data based solution to this issue that would actually have an impact crowding. I cannot support jostling a handful of kids around on a map just to jostle them around, and the disruption it would cause in their lives. Especially when they live in a stagnant neighborhood est. 24 years ago that has been supporting and building up Highcroft for 15 years, and is not adjacent to any areas of residential growth.

If you need to zone the E 540/Green Level farms to Salem because you are worried about a hypothetical sale possibly decades from now, I can understand that too.

Furthermore, I know socioeconomic diversity is a key goal the Board is working towards. Moving Ashley Woods out of Highcroft works directly against this goal, since Ashley Woods has the lowest median household income and lowest median home value of any neighborhood in Highcroft’s base.

Thank you for considering all of the relevant facts and data when making these decisions that effect the lives of our children. I appreciate the Board and assignment staff’s hard work on these complicated crowding issues.

Attachments: IMG_3744.JPG IMG_3746.JPG
6 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 07, 2019 at 9:49am EDT

Hailey, where did that 39 figure come from?

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Geetha Brahmanapalli at October 05, 2019 at 11:27am EDT

Thank you for coming up with a proposal to change ES & MS to certain communities. I am a resident of Preserve of White Oak Creek community and will echo the feedback shared by our community neighbors.

We did scrutiny for more than 3 years and finally brought home considering WOES and MPMS schools which are traditional calendars. This rezoning will have huge influence on our child development and our family stability which includes economic wellbeing and mental health.

      I STRONGLY OPPOSE THIS REZONING.

I sincerely request you to reconsider our community to exclude from rezoning and have WOES and MPMS as our base school.

Thanks

12 Votes
 
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Kevin McMahon at October 05, 2019 at 3:42pm EDT

First off, I strongly oppose this proposal and quite honestly cannot see how this is of benefit to anyone. Previous people have touched on multiple strong reasons for not moving forward with this proposal on both personnel and academic impact to the residents of Preserve at white oak and I completely agree with their sentiments of anguish, confusion and anger. My wife and I have been left stressed and angered by the mere suggestion of this proposal. There are multiple solutions to the alleged forthcoming over crowding at white oak elementary and mills park middle. 1. Invest in modular units to bring the student places up (why is this not considered?) 2. Stop accepting overflow from other schools (send them to Salem) 3. Send new developments to Salem, preserve at white oak is essentially complete and students are already in the headcount for both schools. 4. Cap the school if It is so close to overflow, see point 2

If the goal is to utilize Salem why not bring up an obviously underperforming school with proven methods. 1. Change to traditional calendar (make it more desirable) 2. Invest in the teachers and facilities (far cheaper than building new schools) 3. Find the root cause of the consistently bad scoring and correct that (moving people from performing areas will not address these issues and will just force people to go private)

We all had choices of what area we wanted to live in and the housing prices reflect desirable areas. Perhaps the cities and schooling system should start planing together before building new communities and disrupting everyone’s lives. The zoning map is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen and bears no resemblance to clear planning or long term foresight. Just the opposite, reactionary decisions that don’t consider impact to student outcomes or people’s lives. I haven’t seen any justification for this gerrymandering of our school district and feel completely unrepresented by this proposal as do most of the respondents on this forum. I have not seen any data supporting the proposal or the thought out argument on how this was decided and how selection of certain communities was made. Where are the expert studies and who are these people who can assert that our children and our lives have had any consideration in this proposal. I have provided several options and others have dictated well thought out arguments that must be fully considered. This proposal is clearly not supported by those affected and must be heavily weighted to our opinions and not unsupported opinions on how to carve up districts. I look forward to the transparent and fully explored counter proposals from this group of extremely concerned parents and student.

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Tim Riley at October 05, 2019 at 4:26pm EDT

I have a general question for the staff. Do apartment complexes ever get considered for re-assignment? It seems like a logical choice, as generally there is high turnover, people live there shorter-term, and have less invested in a particular home, neighborhood, or school.

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Rohit Shetty at October 05, 2019 at 10:10pm EDT

This is a really good point - I think the board should consider this before making any decisions

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Matt Dees admin at October 07, 2019 at 10:08am EDT

Tim, yes, apartment complexes are reassigned. For example, we reassigned both Bexley at Panther Creek and Bexley at Triangle Park from Mills Park Middle to Alston Ridge Middle last year.

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Tim Riley at October 07, 2019 at 10:15am EDT

@matt dees - If that's the case then I think the apartment complexes that sit on 55 and are assigned to Highcroft and Mills Park should be looked at. There is an entire Highcroft bus route dedicated to just one of those apartment complexes (creating a double route). It is less than a mile from Ashley Woods, sits directly on 55, and is an easy commute (easier than Ashley Woods) to the Salem Schools. There are far more children there, which means you'll be making a greater impact toward your goal of decreasing crowding at Highcroft/Mills Park, and adding enrollment to the Salem Schools.

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Shaun Lemmon at October 05, 2019 at 4:32pm EDT

Our son is currently in first grade at White Oak, and this is his 2nd year at the school. We believe he will not do as well doing a year-round school. He's already had some behavioral issues and White Oak has spent a lot of time during his kindergarten year working with him. He still has issues, not as much now, but they know how to handle it now when he does.

I'm not sure why we are one of the two neighborhoods being proposed by this when most of us have been established for a while now. Wouldn't it be better to make other developments that are up and coming go to different schools? It would be an easier transition for them compared to our kids being used to everyone at current schools.

We work pretty far around 30 mins. With the rush hour traffic, this will be a nightmare with going to Salem schools. He also has after school activities on top of that. We expect that within the next few years, he will be riding the bus to and from school and the fact that we have to cross multiple highways to get to and from school and we are not comfortable with that. The current bus route is much safer for kids.

We do understand the intent behind the change, but we feel this will be more damaging to our kids than would help the kids at Salem Elementary School and Salem Middle School.

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JIMMY BAKER at October 05, 2019 at 11:37pm EDT

The proximity of WOES to our community PWO makes more sense than going across town to Salem Elementary (SES). On nice days my wife will take the kids to school via the tobacco trail. The kids love walking/running through the tobacco trail to get their morning started before school. They have so much fun laughing and giggling on their walk to school, its therapeutic for them and we can not wait until we have a green way to connect our community to the trail and to WOES. How will they walk to Salem Elementary School across major highways and high traffic areas to the other side of town? Also by buying a house with the school as traditional calendar year our children are on the same schedule. If this passes we will have to get a sitter to watch the younger children during track out or sign them up for a god awful expensive daycare for four kids. You will be forcing our family over a cliff. Also our first grader has been getting special assistants from WOES since he started school last year because of his teachers he has a will to learn and looks forward to going to school every day. If we are forced to change schools he will lose his special assistant teacher and any will to learn or go to school. Not only will this affect his whole future but also his attitude toward his new school. It’s a lose lose situation for us and the new school. I still can’t believe we are going through this right now. We are one of the closest communities to WOES. Did our community picked a short stick or something?

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Hailey Theile at October 06, 2019 at 10:20am EDT

It is unclear why you have not decided to zone all of Highcroft’s base west of 540 to Salem, since you already zoned everything touching that portion of the base to Salem earlier in the year. It seems logical. These denser brand new developments are already surrounded by Salem zoning, and they have not spent the last 15 years building up the Highcroft school community as Ashley Woods has. Ashley woods is not surrounded by any potential development on Green Level. Just farmers who have no current desire to move and sell. Unlike other areas on this map, we are a neighborhood from the 90s not next to any areas of development.

Additionally, there is rapid development going up on Jenks road right now en route to Salem Elementary. I drove by yesterday and there are a ton of apartments and housing developments in construction on both sides of the road. As a small stagnant community not adjacent to developments, I feel like we are vulnerable to being bounced around a lot over the next few years if this proposal goes forward. Thus furthering instability for our children.

The effect of pulling less than 40 kids out of Highcroft will have a negligible impact on crowding issues at a school of nearly 1,000. That number will continue to dwindle as Ashley Woods continues to age.

We watch these E 540 Green Level Rd farmers mowing their lawns, feeding their cows, and celebrating their land. They have beautiful Christmas displays every year and I encourage you to see them. They’re not going anywhere. Any heat maps or data indicating residential growth in the next 5 years in this area are just plain wrong.

The stress and instability Ashley Woods families will experience by having their calendar changed for the FOURTH TIME in 9 years, in addition to having to switch schools, far outweighs any microscopic impact on Highcroft/Mills Park crowding.

Thank you for your time.

Hailey Theile, Esq.

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Sri Beeram at October 06, 2019 at 4:09pm EDT

We moved to "Preserve at White Oak Creek" community last year, one of the main reasons to purchase house in this community is traditional school.year around school doesn't suite our family, and white oak elementary is just 5mins and no highways or heavy traffic roads in between. I am really concerned about kids safety. Changing school from woes to salem es, will increase commute time also. Proximity is very important especially for elementary kids. Woes is just 5mins from our home. Please consider our concerns.

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Hailey Theile at October 07, 2019 at 7:18am EDT

Exact Calendar Change facts for Highcroft: - YR to Single Track 4 2011-2012 School year - Single Track 4 to Traditional 2016-2017 - Traditional to YR now 2020-2021 IN ADDITION to the instability created by changing schools to Salem Elementary.

So if Draft 1 is approved, 4th and 5th graders from Ashley Woods will have experienced 3 calendar changes and a school change during their elementary school careers. That’s a lot of stress and instability for these young people. Many in other neighborhoods could not claim these same hardships since their houses were only built within the last few years.

In the word of an Ashley Woods parent who has lived here for over a decade and seen all of these changes effect her older elementary aged children, “Enough is enough.”

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Matt Dees admin at October 07, 2019 at 10:01am EDT

Hailey, no current Highcroft students were affected by the change from multi-track to single track.

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Hailey Theile at October 11, 2019 at 4:31pm EDT

Correct. I am aware of this. But it is still 3 different calendars for those in 4th and 5th grade if this draft passes. Single track 4> traditional> year round at Salem. I apologize if my point was unclear.

And while no current Highcroft students were affected by the 2011-2012 change from YR to single track, families in Ashley Woods who have children of multiple ages (some in elementary now and some older) were affected by this change.

As to your reply to Tim Riley about the apartments, has assignment staff ever looked into rezoning Brook Arbor apartments? I have sat behind the bus on 55 and counted around 50 elementary kids unloading in the afternoon. That’s not counting kids who get home through carpool. It does seem like reassigning these apartments would have a larger impact on crowding. As stated above, there is more overturn in apartments and it is unlikely parents have invested as much into Highcroft as Ashley Woods has over the past decade and a half. Furthermore, Salem ES is just as quick in not quicker to get to from these apartments since they sit on Hwy 55. I appreciate your hard work on this Matt and I know these crowding issues are not a simple problem to fix.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 07, 2019 at 5:14pm EDT

Hi Matt, in one of the replies above you mentioned some apartment complexes were reassigned to different schools for Panther Creek high school, can you also share which apartment complexes currently assigned to WOES/MPMS were reassigned to Salem ES/MS or which ones are being assigned to Salem under the current proposal.

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Muthuraman Kasiviswanathan at October 08, 2019 at 12:13am EDT

Hi Matt - Here are some of my thoughts/questions on the proposed growth in White Oak base attendance area:

Why is capping at White Oak Elementary not considered an option before rezoning? In this way, any new communities or apartments(Westford) that are built in the neighborhood will be re-assigned to overflow schools than the existing preserve at White Oak community which is an established neighborhood.

Also, isn't WOES already used as an overflow school for other schools like Mills Park, David Drive etc. If so, why cant WOES be removed as an overflow school and limit the inflow of more students? Also, I see that WOES is a calendar application school for Carpenter ES which can also be removed in future.

I know crowding at Wake county schools is a big problem and the school board is trying hard to accommodate the growing population. However, changing the base school of these children at Preserve at White Oak community who have been attending this school for the last 2 to 3 years over the new communities/construction and families moving in to this base area is something we want the board to look at seriously. The messaging that is being sent here is that established communities/families who have invested a whole lot in in the school (PTA) and community are being overlooked over newer families who are moving in to the base area.

7 Votes
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Matt Dees admin at October 08, 2019 at 4:49pm EDT

Hi Muthuraman, White Oak will still need to be considered for capping even if the proposed moves are approved, in which case the school would no longer be an overflow school. The expected growth in the area continues to project the school population well over current capacity.

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Muthuraman Kasiviswanathan at October 08, 2019 at 5:33pm EDT

Thanks Matt for the response! So where are the expected growth numbers coming from? If they are from new people moving to the area from new construction projects, wouldn’t capping limit the inflow? Also can these new constructions be considered for rezoning instead of Preserve at White Oak?

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Hailey Theile at October 08, 2019 at 4:45am EDT

I truly appreciate all of the hard work that the Board and assignment staff put into these drafts. With over 160,000 children and 191 schools, Wake is the largest school district in North Carolina and 15th largest in the country. That has to be a staggering amount of data to weed through, and I have a lot of respect for your determination to do so. It can’t be easy. Thank you all for taking the time to read the data presented on this forum and to listen to our concerns and feedback.

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Tara McMahon at October 08, 2019 at 5:46pm EDT

My family and I have been left very upset over this proposal and I have been losing sleep because of it. From what I understand, the school board is trying to increase enrollment at Salem schools. But you have to understand that you will not do this by rezoning already established neighborhoods that chose to live in a traditional base school zone (like the preserve at white oak where my family and I live). Instead of making better use of Salem schools, you will see most people applying for transfers to the proposed calendar option school, Baucom elementary- which is already near capacity with a current student enrollment of 703 students. You may then be faced with issue of overcrowding at Baucom elementary. And since Baucom will most likely not be able to accommodate all the transfer applications, some of us will be denied transfer, in which case many of us may then explore the possibilities of private and/or charter schools where our choice for a traditional school option can be granted. So you will end up in the same boat as you are in now. It seems to make sense then to not rezone neighborhoods that are highly opposed to a year round school calendar. Please consider capping White Oak elementary and/or propose rezoning for newer construction communities as well as apartment complexes who will be fully informed when they choose to live there of their base school. This proposal is simply not fair to the established community of the Preserve at White Oak.

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Farida Oonwala at October 08, 2019 at 5:58pm EDT

I strongly object to the rezoning of the elementary and middle schools for my neighbourhood Preserve at White Oak. We moved to North Carolina three years back and decided to rent with Mills Park middle as the base. I have an 8th and a 6th grader attending MPMS currently. Both my girls assimilated well with their school from elementary into middle. We were told by the school authorities that as long as we resided with MPMS as the base school, we should be fine. With this information in mind, we decided to put roots down instead of renting and bought a house in Preserve at White Oak neighbourhood which was zoned for Mills Park Middle. Our life savings went into it. We ONLY looked at neighbourhoods that were zoned for MPMS. And now we hear about the Wake County rezoning news!

We, as a family, are vested in these schools emotionally and so are these kids. They have a strong friends circle at school and a strong sense of community due to living in this area for the past three years. Children thrive on stability and this rezoning is not only causing stress for the parents but for the children as well. If we wanted our kids to go to year-round schools, we would have opted to buy our home in a neighbourhood that was zoned for a year round school. If we wanted to buy a home zoned for Salem, then we would have opted for that BUT we chose Preserve at White Oak based on the zoning for WOES and MPMS. I don’t understand why neighbourhoods who are already zoned for White Oak and MPMS need to be rezoned. Why is this like a dark cloud hovering on families’ heads every year? Why does Wake county zone an upcoming neighbourhood for a particular school and then take that option away? Buying a house itself is a stressful process. Add to this, the stress of buying it in a neighbourhood of one choosing based on the zone information available at the time the development is getting built and established. When new neighbourhoods are built, why isn’t this factored into Wake county’s student numbers? Why does Wake County wait until neighbourhoods are established to RE-DRAW these zones? Zone new neighbourhoods that are planned for development for Salem ES and Salem MS. Let families make that choice when they are purchasing a home in new developments. Leave existing neighbourhoods alone!

My kids have friends in these schools who moved to MPMS from their elementary schools. They have adjusted well to the school and are thriving there. The children attending these schools are already accounted for, so why the need to uproot them and make them move to a new school? Changing the base from a traditional to a year round will create havoc for the families, vacation planning, and their schedules. Families bought homes here based on the fact that it was zoned for White Oak ES ad MPMS.

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Tim Riley at October 11, 2019 at 10:03am EDT

@Matt Dees - you had mentioned last week that a FAQ would come out this week, is that still the plan?

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Matt Dees admin at October 11, 2019 at 2:47pm EDT

Tim, I just posted this below.

We met this week with planning officials from the Town of Cary regarding future planned development.

Based on the information discussed, there continues to be crowding concerns (both present and future) for all of the schools in the western portion of the county.

The proposal to move a southern portion of the Highcroft base to Salem would relieve existing crowding at Highcroft. The school has an enrollment cap and trailers on instructional space. The Board has directed staff for the last two years to implement changes to address this concern. Many of you have encouraged us to look at the northern portion of the Highcroft base attendance area, and we are considering additional assignment changes involving future development there that would prevent future crowding.

The proposed assignment changes for White Oak address the rapid growth continuing in the area. The southernmost area closest to US 64 has been proposed to move to Salem in order to provide relief for the upcoming school year. Moving forward, there are many new developments near the school that are being built, as well as existing developments that continue to be built out. So, to address both current and future crowding, we are proposing to reduce the White Oak base attendance area.

Lastly, Mills Park Middle has had an enrollment cap since 2014 and continues to experience crowding concerns. As a reminder, the base attendance areas proposed to change to Salem Elementary also are proposed to have middle school students living there move from Mills Park Middle to Salem Middle.

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Tara McMahon at October 11, 2019 at 10:24am EDT

I would like to know if the school board that is proposing this rezoning has taken into account that there are several new construction sites just down the road from Salem schools? They are building 96 homesites in Lennar at Oak Pointe as well single family homes PLUS townhomes at Wayland Grove on Old Jenks road. Salem Elementary already has an enrollment of 585 students. Surely all this new construction in it’s nearby vicinity will increase the number of students enrolled there? And it clearly states on these new home websites that Salem schools will be their base school zone. White Oak only has 406 students currently enrolled. Please don’t make our children have to upheave their lives and the roots they have made at their neighborhood school just 5 minutes down the road from the Preserve at White Oak. Please rezone new construction areas and leave already established neighborhoods to stay at the base schools we signed up for.

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Matt Dees admin at October 11, 2019 at 2:48pm EDT

Tara, where are you getting those numbers about Salem and White Oak?

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Tara McMahon at October 11, 2019 at 3:20pm EDT

Thank you Matt for allowing me to research a bit further and to get accurate numbers of current enrollment at both schools. I was using the internet in my search, but when I called each school and spoke to the school administrators, I was able to find out that Salem Elementary now has a current enrollment of 752 students and that White Oak’s current enrollment is approximately 750. I also did a bit more research into the areas surrounding Salem elementary and found even more new construction areas in it’s school zone than I had even previously mentioned (such as new build neighborhoods of Middleton, Buckhorn Preserve, Abbey rum and the Townhouse promanades at Beaver Creek). So there is a lot of new construction neighborhoods being zoned with Salem elementary as their base school. Salem and White Oak are actually at similar enrollment status now. We are just asking that you can please take into consideration the impact that changing schools has on a child’s social, emotional, and academic growth and well-being. And also that the Preserve at White Oak strongly opposes a year round calendar school as well as a longer and more dangerous commute to school. Could you also please consider capping White Oak elementary so we can stay at the base school we chose and paid for in the value of our houses. Thank you for your time.

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Matt Dees admin at October 11, 2019 at 2:47pm EDT

To address some of the questions we receive about development in this area:

We met this week with planning officials from the Town of Cary regarding future planned development.

Based on the information discussed, there continues to be crowding concerns (both present and future) for all of the schools in the western portion of the county.

The proposal to move a southern portion of the Highcroft base to Salem would relieve existing crowding at Highcroft. The school has an enrollment cap and trailers on instructional space. The Board has directed staff for the last two years to implement changes to address this concern. Many of you have encouraged us to look at the northern portion of the Highcroft base attendance area, and we are considering additional assignment changes involving future development there that would prevent future crowding.

The proposed assignment changes for White Oak address the rapid growth continuing in the area. The southernmost area closest to US 64 has been proposed to move to Salem in order to provide relief for the upcoming school year. Moving forward, there are many new developments near the school that are being built, as well as existing developments that continue to be built out. So, to address both current and future crowding, we are proposing to reduce the White Oak base attendance area.

Lastly, Mills Park Middle has had an enrollment cap since 2014 and continues to experience crowding concerns. As a reminder, the base attendance areas proposed to change to Salem Elementary also are proposed to have middle school students living there move from Mills Park Middle to Salem Middle.

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Hailey Theile at October 11, 2019 at 4:09pm EDT

I would like to understand this data as well. In regard to the Green Level Rd. area east of 540. As we have stated, there are currently farmers living there. Some of them have great Halloween displays out currently and the land is not for sale. Considering sale/zoning approval/development of these farms will almost certainly take longer than 5 years, I don’t understand how the heat map projects hundreds of children living in this area 2019-2023. There are areas where land is for sale and being rezoned/developed, but this southern portion of farm land in Highcroft’s base is not currently one of those. Currently Ashley Woods is 39 elementary (at least 10 of which are 5th graders). If you add Branton/Overlook, maybe you could get to the 50 number. This sounds high, but ok. So even in that scenario with the numbers, the max this move will reduce Highcroft crowding is 5% over the next few years. It’s currently 112% so we are looking at 107% capacity by removing the kids who actually will be living in this area in the next 5 years. Apartments like Brook Arbor have a much larger population and would do much more to reduce crowding. Plus, you would be optimizing a bus route. Looking at the pure numbers and data, they would appear to be a better option to really deal with overcrowding issues and getting that number under 100%. Plus, they are just as close to Salem. Highcroft will still be overcrowded by removing Ashley Woods/Branton/Overlook. Taking out all of the soft factors like the fact that this is a third calendar plus school change for older Ashley Woods kids, we have built up the school for 15 years, we are stagnant and getting older not younger, etc., and just looking at the numbers, I still don’t understand. Why Ashley Woods/Branton/Overlook? Can you please point to the data that supports it? I think in other reassigned areas that are surrounded by land for sale and houses going up left and right, I at least understand the reasoning better. But considering the facts here with this farm land and lack of actual developments (that may end up being commercial once sold), I still just don’t get it. Why these 39-50 kids that will barely put a chip in Highcroft’s longterm crowding issues? We are actually reasonable data driven individuals that would just like a fact based answer to this question. We want to know that our removal would serve some overall purpose that justifies the major disruption it will cause to our children. I don’t think that’s too much to ask?

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Tim Riley at October 11, 2019 at 3:27pm EDT

Matt - would you be able provide the data provided by the Town of Cary in regards to future development in the area that you propose to re-assign from Highcroft and Mills park? We in Ashley Woods are not aware of any planned residential development in that area, and would like to understand what the town is predicting and how it relates to these re-assignments. What timeframe is the town expecting this residential development?

Without future development in that area, you'd be moving 40 kids out of Highcroft, and I believe fewer out of Mills Park. What percentage of each school's enrollment does that encompass?

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Matt Dees admin at October 11, 2019 at 4:00pm EDT

Tim, we use planning data from all Wake County municipalities every year when making proposals related to student assignment. After hearing questions from you and others, our staff asked to meet personally with Cary planners. They were gracious enough to oblige and walk us through upcoming development in the area. As you can see on this map, or if you've just driven around lately, there's a lot going on. http://carync.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Embed/index.html?webmap=59d4bd1d3c234bfb8a23cebfbca65c1a&home=true&zoom=true&scale=false&search=true&searchextent=true&legend=true&basemap_gallery=true&theme=light&logoimage=http://digiabn.com/TofC2.png&disable_scroll=false

The upshot of the meeting was essentially confirming that this area is going to continue to add more and more school-aged students in the foreseeable future.

While accounting for future growth is important, the main driver behind the current proposal is aimed at reducing existing crowding. As mentioned, Highcroft Drive is capped and has trailers on instructional space. White Oak is crowded and may be a candidate for capping even if the proposed assignment changes are approved. When a school is crowded, we look for the closest school with the most available seats. In the case of both Highcroft and White Oak, that's Salem Elementary. That is why we are proposing moving portions of the White Oak and Highcroft base attendance areas that are closest to Salem. Hope this helps. And hope you will plan on attending the public information session on Oct. 24 at Salem Elementary. We'll be offering tours of both schools, as well as having staff members representing many different departments on hand to answer parent questions.

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Tim Riley at October 11, 2019 at 4:08pm EDT

Matt - I appreciate that info, but I don't think it answers the questions. We want to understand the future residential growth specifically in this years Highcroft/Mills Park area, because without accounting for future growth, you are taking very few people out of Highcroft and Mills Park, which in my opinion is not making a very large impact on overcrowding or capping. This is why I was hoping for actual numbers that will be moved out of Highcroft and Mills Park for this proposal, and what percentage of the total school enrollment that is.

We understand the need for re-assignments based on overcrowding, but we want to be confident with the data behind it to make sure we aren't being unnecessarily re-assigned, as it has a large affect on families. Thanks.

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Manasi Pa at October 11, 2019 at 4:28pm EDT

Your focus is long range planning - great! Then let the impact also be long ranged and not myopic. Let's move and reassign all future growth to salem and those that are already in the preserve at White oak zoned to white oak & mills park as the base school be left to attend white oak & mills park and close this chapter once and for all.

RTP is a growing area is a given, and the fact that you will see crowding is also a no brainer.

The question which Matt you and your board need to answer is " why rezone an established community to another school" while the school in question White Oak is still taking overflow students from all over the place while depriving the most deserving and entitled folks that have been promised the school during buying into the area. Is this because you want to send the established community students to an inferior school and use the good school ( white oak/mills park) as a bait for the builders to lure in naive buyers and then do the same thing to them so you can keep blaming overcrowding?

Please let us know why the board is being biased to the school aged children and families that are yet to arrive (future growth) while shortchanging existing school aged children and families?

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Arti Balan at October 11, 2019 at 4:59pm EDT

Matt , Thanks for replying . But that surely didn't answer our questions . We have concerns about children's stability , traditional to YR change and why we are targeted . The new community under construction on Green level west have WOE and MPM as their base school . The distance from this community to Salem schools would be nearly the same as us . So why are the base schools not changed for them . Is there a specific reason for that ???.We as a community are objecting because we see that this kind of instability is harmful for our children .

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Tara McMahon at October 11, 2019 at 5:50pm EDT

I have another question: how can you say that Salem elementary is under-utilized if it currently has 752 students enrolled?

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 9:45am EDT

Hi Tara, Salem Elementary's capacity is 832.

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Yegammai Lakshmanan at October 14, 2019 at 11:32am EDT

Hi Matt, If the capacity is 832 and they hold now 752, how do you think it’s underutilized? And further I saw new constructions nearby the SES n SMS. Can you pls explain where will they be assigned?

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Apex Resident at October 11, 2019 at 5:59pm EDT

Sorry but the explanation you have provided is not enough. This is very reactive from the school board, and there seems to be no coherent approach to any of this.

Next year once all these communities get built out, what happens then, say for arguments we go with your plan and uproot our kids to Sales ES and MS.

What happens in 2-3 years? Once these new communities are built, you are back to square one. To support new housing developments built in a couple of years, you will again have to go through the same exercise; only then you are going find Salem, Whiteoak, Highcroft, Apex, all capped out.

So what happens then? Will our kids get shuttled across the city? Feels like the game of musical chairs to me. Only our gets get to fall down.

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Muthuraman Kasiviswanathan at October 11, 2019 at 6:02pm EDT

Hi Matt - thanks for your staff meeting with town of cary officials. As other’s have indicated, what led to picking Preserve at White Oak community which has been sending kids to white oak for the last 3 years vs new developments in the white oak base attendance area? Also, can you present projection numbers of new kids of each development over the next 5 yrs vs Preserve at White Oak? This would help to have a meaningful conversation than what looks like an ill informed decision over projected growth. The one thing that is unacceptable is trying to move existing kids instead of future kids that have not even enrolled. The interesting part of all this is that WOES is not even capped and does not even have trailers like other schools to increase capacity.

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Matt Dees admin at October 16, 2019 at 8:58am EDT

Muthuraman, you mentioned a door to door survey at Preserve at White Oak you conducted. Other neighborhoods are proposed to change assignments in Draft 1.

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 10:01am EDT

Hi Muthuraman, as mentioned, the current proposal is primarily aimed at reducing current crowding.

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Manasi Pa at October 11, 2019 at 6:31pm EDT

Matt can you explain why Salem schools are underutilized while all schools around it are either capped or overcrowded?

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 10:05am EDT

Hi Manasi, both Salem schools have small base attendance areas relative to many other schools in the area. They also have added capacity due to being multi-track year-round and having modular units.

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Tara McMahon at October 15, 2019 at 3:08pm EDT

Surely the base attendance areas near Salem schools is going to increase massively over the next year once all the new construction homes, apartments and townhouses in Salem’s school zone are bought?? Then you will risk overcrowding these schools as well.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 11, 2019 at 6:32pm EDT

This is seriously an unacceptable proposal. If the board is considering to cap WOES then why not remove the overflow first, assign new developments and let the people make the decision to invest and not force people into situations that they not ready for.

As Manasi pointed it does look like the school assignments are being used as a bait to lure buyers to invest and when the community is sold out here comes the reassignment because the schools got overcrowded. Really, the city didn’t plan the infrastructure before they approved it? Why did this projected growth was not seen last year or the year before? Didn’t the board reassign communities from Mills parks MS last year? Was that not sufficient to take care of this overcrowding? Why we need to keep doing this every year?

Also like Tara McMahon said a lot of new construction is assigned to Salem so if next year Salem gets overcrowded the board will move us to some other schools?

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Parvinder Kaur at October 11, 2019 at 6:48pm EDT

I want to raise another question, in 2018 the board recommended to convert Salem from YR to traditional. Why was that consideration put on the table? Information shared by the County also shows that running a YR is only beneficial to the district when it is at full capacity. Also over the years the number of YR schools in wake county has decreased significantly? Why? Because people are more interested in traditional schools and not YR. Are we missing something Matt?

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 11:58am EDT

Parvinder, Regarding your question below about calendar application schools, we anticipate some available seats for calendar application students, but we would not allow so many as to overcrowd the school.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 14, 2019 at 12:06pm EDT

In our opinion by removing crowding from one school and adding to another does not resolve the main goal of reducing overcrowding. this is just adding unnecessary stress to the families and kids who will have to start all over again in a new environment. we will have to struggle to find options that will meet our family needs as most of us do not prefer YR calendar option.

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 10:07am EDT

Hi, Parvinder, yes, there was a proposal a few years ago that considered converting Salem to traditional calendar. Ultimately the board decided not to because they did not think it was wise to give up extra capacity in this fast-growing part of the school district. We did just add two more year-round schools this school year, Alston Ridge Middle and Parkside Elementary.

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Matt Dees admin at October 15, 2019 at 3:19pm EDT

Parvinder, you asked "so the changes are only impacting K-3 grades? what about 4-5th and middle school?" Yes, the state mandate to reduce class size only applies to grades K-3. But it affects the whole school. Essentially every classroom that will need to be used by K-3 to comply with the mandate is one less classroom available to grades 4 and 5. Does that make sense? As far as middle school, we are proposing to reassign middle school students who live in the areas proposed to be reassigned out of White Oak Elementary and Highcroft Drive Elementary. This is to reduce crowding at Mills Park Middle, which has been capped for five years, and to provide a consistent K-8 feeder pattern for those proposed to have new assignments.

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Manasi Pa at October 11, 2019 at 7:37pm EDT

Can you provide updated utilization numbers with trailers for WOES?

It's not possible that almost all schools in Wake county uses trailers and WOES won't.

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 10:08am EDT

Hi Manasi, the addition of four trailers would increase capacity by about 80 students.

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Manasi Pa at October 14, 2019 at 12:38pm EDT

I think there is some inaccuracy here....the draft says WOES has capacity of 616. The school says they have 750 kids enrolled....how is that possible? Can u tell me what is the real capacity of WOES with and without trailers?

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Matt Dees admin at October 15, 2019 at 9:36am EDT

Manasi, The capacity is set based on the K-3 class size legislation being implemented in 2021. Until 2021, we do have space to accommodate the current number of students enrolled. But when that requirement goes into effect, the same number of classrooms will hold fewer students in grades K-3. The legislation calls for the following teacher-to-students ratios: Kindergarten - 1 to 18 First grade - 1 to 16 2nd and 3rd - 1 to 17 As a district we have begun to reduce the incoming classes to prepare for the state-mandated smaller class sizes. Also, since White Oak does not currently have an enrollment cap, all students that move into the base attendance area are provided a seat at the school. The continued growth within the base attendance area, coupled with the state mandated K-3 class size legislation, is driving these proposed changes to the base attendance area for White Oak Elementary.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 15, 2019 at 3:12pm EDT

Hi Matt, so the changes are only impacting K-3 grades? what about 4-5th and middle school?

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 3:52pm EDT

Hi Manasi, Yes, the school is overcrowded. That’s why we are proposing to move students out of White Oak. Moreover, are many more kids assigned to the school than the school should be able to hold when the K-3 class size reduction legislation takes effect. Here's some more info about that: https://www.wcpss.net/Page/34847

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Parvinder Kaur at October 15, 2019 at 8:26am EDT

if the school has more kids assigned to it then why the first proposal is not to stop the overflow of other schools and cap the school instead of an unfair decision of moving our kids out. use Salem as an overflow school this will reduce overcrowding of WOES and underutilization of Salem ES.

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Manasi Pa at October 14, 2019 at 6:46pm EDT

My question is, if currently the capacity for WOES is 616, how are 750 students enrolled today?

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Yegammai Lakshmanan at October 11, 2019 at 11:53pm EDT

There were several questions of why Preserve at White Oak is being rezoned. But I feel none were answered to the point and you generalized your response as “to reduce White Oak base attendance area.” 1.We are already part of WOES base attendance area and are attending the school right from the day it was started. Why not look at newly developed communities rather than moving kids that have a bond with the community that attends WOES. 2.Also you stated that you are rezoning southernmost of US 64. What is the reasoning at looking at the community near US 64 and not look at communities near NC-55 which is closer to SES than looking at Preserve at White Oak? 3. If in few years SES will be crowded because of many new constructions coming up near the school. Have you considered the projected growth near SES? If that happens, would you rezone those new communities to schools that farther away from SES? I’m not making sense of the long term strategy in re-assigning the schools. A lot of these re-assignments look short sighted to me. 4.Also many kids who attend additional classes ( like science, chorus,chess) would find a nearby school convenient. Don’t you think if the school is far, parents might find hard to drop them early and start dropping them from these additional activities? This will impact their overall growth. 5.And pls don’t force us into a system which we don’t want. In our community everyone prefers traditional calendar rather than year round. Even if we applied for Baucomm (calendar application), can you guarantee every child gets approved for the change in calendar? What’s the use of a School tour for Salem Elementary if we don’t even want to consider YR school?

As already said by many ,leave the established community and try to implement the proposed re-assignments to new constructions. They will have a choice to either move in to the base attendance area considering SES instead of being forced a choice. Pls don’t put our future into chaos. Safety of kids is priority as well. None of us in our community are interested in this proposal and request the school board to take this in to serious consideration as everyone of them is going to apply for transfer to traditional which would not increase the utilization of SES.

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 11:36am EDT

Yegammai, In response to your question about Salem Elementary capacity, the facility has a capacity of 832 but only 752 students, so it us under-enrolled by 80 seats.

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Jie Hou at October 14, 2019 at 11:06pm EDT

We are far away from Salem Elementary. I see a lot of houses under construction nearby the area of Salem Elementary. I'm afraid you are going to assign us back to WOE when people start to move in those houses.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 14, 2019 at 11:48am EDT

If the underutilization is based on only 80 seats then the assignment Salem schools to the Waterford Apartment complex on Jenks road should take care of it. The need to reassign an established community is no value added; instead it will add to overcrowding of Salem before the school year starts as the apartment complex is not fully occupied yet.

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Yegammai Lakshmanan at October 14, 2019 at 12:27pm EDT

Thanks Matt! I appreciate your immediate response. But,Adding trailers to WOES will also be the same capacity(+80) .Both schools have same number and we prefer TRADITIONAL . We live nearby the WOES( half the distance to SES).There are new constructions everywhere.(especially near SES) Making WOES capped would solve problems in future.And I think this proposal is meaningless.

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Hailey Theile at October 12, 2019 at 8:11am EDT

Hi Matt. The interactive Town of Cary development map link you posted above is actually the same link I posted in the forum a few days ago. I also posted various screen shots of portions of this map including the farmland on Green Level East of 540 in Highcroft’s base. It is sandwiched between a tiny office space proposed to go up near Branton and a Duke Health Complex west of 540. Your heat map in draft 1 showed rampant population growth of hundreds of people here within the next 5 years. This Town of Cary Interactive Development Map you linked to calls that heat map into question since it shows farms with no current sale or development plans.

I have a problem with inaccuracies in 5 year heat maps and residential growth numbers for this Green Level E540 farmland in Highcroft’s base being used as part of the justification for why the 40ish kids in Ashley Woods need to be removed from Highcroft. Especially when it has such a huge impact on our families. None of the current data supports these 5 year heat map growth numbers. The Town of Cary’s plans for development of the Green Level Destination Center are included in a larger aspirational plan for the area based on their hopes farmers sell. They state that these plans are a projection from now to 2040 (see page 9 and 2040 projection at bottom). https://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=14055

If you believe the 40ish elementary school kids and 20ish middle school kids being moved out of Ashley Woods/Branton/Overlook present a large enough group, that reassigning them will significantly impact those school populations, and the reduction in crowding is worth the instability and disruption caused to these families, then can we call a spade a spade? Alternatively, if you are really just worried about this chunk of farmland, could it be reassigned separate from our tiny stagnant community?

Are the Board and assignment staff set on reassigning our tiny neighborhood to see that 3-5% dip in Highcroft’s population, even with no new residential developments on these Green Level farmlands in the next 5 years, and despite the fact that Highcroft will still need a cap and still be at 107% and over crowded?

I apologize. I know I have been repeating myself, but I just don’t feel like I have clarity on the justifications for our reassignment here. Again. Ashley Woods: built 1995, less elementary school kids this year than last year, building up Highcroft/Mills Park since they opened, many families been here 10+ years and this will be third calendar and now a new school for their older kids. These kids and families have already experienced the instability of Highcroft’s flipping calendar over the years, and now another flip plus a new school. As mentioned previously, most living in new developments or apartments have not experienced the level of instability our kids have experienced over the years in Wake with these repetitive changes to our calendar and now base school.

Our small community would just like to have a better grasp of the Board and Assignment staff’s intentions and reasoning in light of all of the facts and data. We want to know if the impact of removing 40-50 kids living in stagnant old communities from Highcroft is actually going to effect crowding in a school of about 1,000, and whether it is worth the major disruption our families experience. We are looking for the true “why” here. Again, I don’t think that’s too much to ask?

I watch school board works sessions and I am truly thankful for all that you all do. I know putting together an assignment map for a behemoth of a school system with rampant growth as complex as Wake’s has to be overwhelming. We do truly appreciate your efforts and diligence with all of this. The reason I feel the accuracy of these numbers is so important is because at the end of the day, they are not just numbers for us. They are the children we pack lunches for and kiss on the head before they go out the door in the morning. We are just trying to understand the reasoning here.

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Concerned Parent at October 12, 2019 at 8:36am EDT

I believe the board is unintentionally contributing to real state speculation. By assigning farmlands/future neighborhoods (at sky rocket prices) to highly desirable schools, it is contributing, ironically, to the very issue it is trying to fix, overcrowding. Once new neighborhoods are fully established, it realizes schools are at/near capacity, starting the rezone process and speculation all over again... Please consider assigning farmlands/future neighborhoods to Salem, and I believe you will be contributing to fix the 2 issues under this proposal more effectively, over and under enrollment.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 13, 2019 at 10:58pm EDT

Hi Matt,

It's disappointing that the so called FAQ's doesn't address any of the frequently asked questions in this forum.

Would be really helpful, if you address only this question of mine which I and others have raised numerous times in this forum.

If majority of the people from Preserve at White Oak Reserve community and other affected communities, opt for traditional calendar school, is there capacity in Baucom elementary to accommodate them. Do we have the utilization data for Baucom elementary and Apex Middle that follow traditional calendar? This would help us understand whether it's a viable option or not. Also please don't suggest magnet schools and other schools. For one, the commute time and safety of kid remain paramount for us and that's why we didn't choose magnet schools in the first place. As for other school options that follow traditional calendar, please provide data in case it's presented as an option before us. Thanks.

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Matt Dees admin at October 14, 2019 at 10:09am EDT

Hi Jayakhanna, yes, we anticipate that we will be able to accommodate some calendar requests to Baucom Elementary and Apex Middle, but likely not all. We can’t say right now exactly how many seats will be available.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 14, 2019 at 11:54am EDT

so by accommodating kids into Baucom elementary and Apex middle are the schools not going to reach there maximum capacity?? will this not create the same situation that board is trying to eliminate from WOES and Mills park middle school? this is not really helping us understand what will we resolve by this proposal.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 15, 2019 at 3:59pm EDT

Thanks for the response Matt. So when can we expect the data?

Seems like the staff and board were worried about their problems and didn't take into account the hardships that would be faced by the community. I am totally fine if you are changing the base schools, but the least that we expect is to look at the entire data and options. Just putting up a quick fix to move everybody to under utilized different calendar school is disruptive to the families. Thanks.

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Konstantin Reverdatto at October 14, 2019 at 1:14pm EDT

As the vast majority of people posting here, we bought a house in the area fairly recently, and one of the primary reasons for the move was school assignment (WOES and MPMS). When we toured WOES, the school principal confirmed that the school was under capacity and not capped, which gave a level of comfort, that we would not be re-assigned. We live on a small street (Sunset Meadows dr), which is not a part of a larger neighborhood, so re-assigning us does not impact overall crowding issues. Our objection to this re-assignment is primarily school performance, and secondarily school calendar. We selected WOES (#5 Elementary school in Wake County) for its performance, and refuse to compromise educational quality. All 3 of our children are SSA/AIG. If this re-assignment gets approved and we are assigned to Salem ES (#59 performing school out of 65 Elementary schools in Wake County), we will be forced to take our children out of the WCPSS in favor of one of the alternatives (charter of private). This will help neither WOES nor Salem ES, and will hurt WCPSS, as high-achieving students leave this system. I sincerely hope that this plan is reconsidered, and under-utilized schools are filled with new construction neighborhoods (we certainly have enough of them going up) so people buying those homes can make decision for themselves, as opposed to that decision being forced on existing home owners.

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jagroop singh at October 14, 2019 at 9:35pm EDT

We have community of close to 400 homes. We have invested our future along with our kids in this community primarily of WOES being traditional year, avoiding all real estate that was linked with year round schools. We do respect board of education but at the same time we are not being fairly treated we are very STRONGLY against putting our children in year round we can’t even imagine putting our kids in year round. There should be a choice to us sending our kids to traditional school with public transportation. We have WOE and MPE/MPM schools with very close proximity to our home. We are totally against sending our kids to year round. Thank you

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Farida Oonwala at October 14, 2019 at 10:14pm EDT

Hmmm why does it seem like the board zones a new housing development for particular schools to favor the sale of homes and aid the builders get a quick turn around for their investments? Preserve at White Oak is near completion and now we are being zoned out of the original base schools in favor of more new construction? Where was the planning when this housing development was going up? Were we not accounted for in the base school numbers for WOES and MPMS? The builder got his wish by completing the neighborhood and the families are now made to suffer. We are treated like pawns. We can apply for traditional but guess what...it’s not guaranteed. We are already based for WOES and MPMS, send the overflows to Apex Middle and Baucom. MPMS already sends the overflows to West Cary which is further away. What projections do you have for the different neighborhoods with regards to how they will contribute towards student population? Can we get a breakdown of this by individual neighborhoods ie Lake Castleberry, Weddington and other neighborhoods and apartment complexes? This is already an established neighborhood and the students are already part of the schools and are not projections. You are proposing to alter the lives of the kids and families who already live here just for an estimation.

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Matt Dees admin at October 16, 2019 at 9:09am EDT

Farida, we have no control over approval or regulations of housing developments. We certainly do not make any recommendations to "aid builders."

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Jie Hou at October 14, 2019 at 10:59pm EDT

Preserve at White Oak is a mature community. We have a lot of kids here already been White Oak Elementary and Mills Park Middle for years. Moving to another school means they need to leave all the friends they already made and go to a completely new environment. They also need the transition from Traditional calendar to Year Round calendar. I don't think this is a good idea for the kids living in this community. I would understand this proposal if it's a completely new community people just started or going to move in. But for the Preserve At White Oak, this doesn't make sense. Also, we only have 16 kids go to Mills Park Middle, I don't think moving them to another school will help solving the crowd problem of Mills Park Middle. This proposal is meaningless.

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Hailey Theile at October 15, 2019 at 6:11am EDT

Matt - How many children are being reassigned from White Oak Elementary to Salem Elementary in this proposal?

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Matt Dees admin at October 15, 2019 at 3:14pm EDT

Hailey, we estimate about 90 students are proposed to be reassigned from White Oak, not counting rising kindergarteners.

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Hailey Theile at October 15, 2019 at 3:59pm EDT

Thank you. In light of the K-3 legislative class size mandate, trailer utilization, and increased occupancy due to year round tracks, what is Salem Elementary’s absolute maximum operating capacity?

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Manasi Pa at October 15, 2019 at 4:46pm EDT

If it's about reassigning 90 students can you not cap woes and bring in the trailers for 80 kids?

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Muthuraman Kasiviswanathan at October 15, 2019 at 4:56pm EDT

Matt - where are you getting the estimates of 90 students? We did a door to door survey of preserve at white oak community and we got 60 - 70 kids in white oak. Also what are the estimates from new constructions around white oak?

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Tara McMahon at October 15, 2019 at 3:23pm EDT

The Wake county schools website mention that parents can choose traditional or year round schools for their children. The community of Preserve at White oak chose a traditional base school. By proposing to rezone our community to a year round school, you are taking that choice away from us and it is not fair and unacceptable. Many of us have family from other countries and have planned extended family summer vacations to spend time with them-just one of the many reasons we chose a traditional school base. Also, the Wake county school website states that they can only accept transfers (such as in our case to Baucom or Apex Middle) on “rare and exceptional circumstances.” So please don’t tell us we can simply apply to another traditional school when this can and will be denied for many of us. Baucom is almost at full capacity. Can you please consider capping White Oak and let our children stay at their neighborhood school. You can make Salem the overflow school for White Oak so the future new construction can go there. Please also consider redirecting the overflow students coming from Mills Park (and any other schools) to Salem schools so White Oak students can remain at their base school? This seems to be a reasonable and fair proposition. Thank you again for your time!

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Matt Dees admin at October 16, 2019 at 9:11am EDT

Tara, all addresses have a base school, and most have an elementary and middle school on a different calendar than their base to which they may apply. Those applications may or may not be approved, depending on the number of available seats at the requested school.

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Tara McMahon at October 16, 2019 at 9:34am EDT

Hi Matt, while that may be true, our base is now traditional at White Oak and that is what we chose. Can you please tell us what is being done about the overflow students to White Oak school from Mills Park and other schools? Is this going to be allowed to continue?

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 16, 2019 at 9:56am EDT

Hi Matt, I'm keeping on repeating this in different replies probably to the point of irritation. Sorry for that. But I'm afraid we are missing a pertinent point here.

The proposal is moving the traditional calendar schools to year round schools. The families chose the calendar for their convenience and presumably would apply for the traditional calendar schools. The staff and board should therefore provide data on the traditional schools capacity. Simply stating that not all will be accommodated is not eliciting any confidence in the proposal.

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Matt Dees admin at October 16, 2019 at 10:44am EDT

Tara, We have enacted reassignments in recent years to reduce the base population of Mills Park Elementary, which has reduced crowding. There has not been additional residential growth in remaining base population, and soon there will be no more students who remain at Mills Park as grandfathered students. Therefore, we anticipate that the number of students capped out of Mills Park and needing to overflow will continue to decrease.

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Yegammai Lakshmanan at October 16, 2019 at 11:53am EDT

If that’s the case, the WOES can accommodate more students from base area in future.Adding trailers will be beneficial. All schools have trailers and it’s not fair to consider the strength of WOES without trailers.Pls rethink this proposal. It doesn’t seem to be fruitful.

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Yegammai Lakshmanan at October 16, 2019 at 12:16pm EDT

And if you suspect more growth near WOES, let the future residents know this to be a capped school and leave us in peace. Many of us have been telling this several times. Pls consider our request. Pls, leave the established community. Hope you understand our plight.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 16, 2019 at 9:20am EDT

Hi Matt,

Good morning. I was trying to look at the reduction in sizes of K-3 mandate, since this is all new to me. What I found was that this mandate is not something that came up recently and it has been there since some time. So the schools were over crowded knowing that we would make disruptive changes to reduce the level back to where it was. I'm sure they board and staff are not myopic and are looking at long term solutions. I'm afraid the current proposal also shouldn't end up being myopic so wanted to understand the thought process better.

I am still not able to comprehend how did this situation arise with a new school: WOES. Could you please explain the thinking behind this entire process.

Thanks for your time.

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Matt Dees admin at October 16, 2019 at 10:41am EDT

Here is most recent data on traditional calendar application schools: Here's most recent info we have:

Baucom is at 96% capacity Green Hope is at 98% capacity Apex Middle is at 85% capacity

As for question about K-3, the class size legislation became law in March 2018, but we have been planning for it even before then in anticipation of the changes that would be required. For instance, we had to reduce the capacity of White Oak Elementary to prepare us for compliance with K-3 class size reduction legislation.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 16, 2019 at 11:46am EDT

This looks contrary to the situation on the ground. The WOES started in 2016 and the within 3 years went to 752, way overboard the capacity of 616. Do we have data over the years for WOES capacity starting from 2016?

Thanks.

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Cosette Burian at October 16, 2019 at 10:06am EDT

As regards the recent school zone change proposal

Dear Members of the School Board:

First, thank you for your time, efforts and dedication to our community in your service on the board. The Preserve at White Oak Community appreciates your efforts, and wishes to brainstorm with you in order to make the best decision within our budget for our students and community.

We would like to introduce you to our community at PWO: we are a neighborhood of highly educated, involved parents of young children, whom we proudly have enrolled/expect to enroll in the Wake County Public School System. Many of us neighbors were previously friends, and moved together to this neighborhood, from surrounding areas in the triangle, for the schools PWO is zoned for and near. Some of us made these moves in response to previous rezoning actions here in Wake County, so that we could avoid disrupting our children’s education. We are a diverse community from different parts of the world and backgrounds, and embrace the idea that our children thrive in this diversity, and we are united by our belief in investing in our children’s academics and success. We are sure this is a belief that the school board also shares.

Our neighborhood recently learned that our small community has been selected to be rezoned in the zoning proposal for 2020. In understanding our neighborhood’s values as above, you can imagine that the rezone issue has since been on the forefront of our minds. Unfortunately, we have many concerns that the rezone is not in the best interest of our community, children, or WCPSS.

We understand rezoning school districts is a complex, multifaceted decision, at the center of which should be the optimization of student achievement. In analyzing the test scores of WOES and MPM vs Salem ES and MS, the test scores of the Salem School are significantly lower. As a parent, this is concerning. While past educational theories had postulated that integrating low-scoring children with high-scoring children could possibly boost the low-scoring children’s scores, recent studies have shown that instead this integration does not boost performance of the low-scoring children. Instead, research has shown that an important factor associated with student achievement is community/support involvement.

Concerningly, the proposed rezone disrupts the community to which our children belong, including the parks, recreation and community resources west of 1600, 540 and 55, to which the infrastructure that our tax money supports connects us to. We are so governmentally isolated from the Salem School environment, that the school district in which our neighborhood votes and pay taxes appears to be separate from the district in which the Salem schools reside (8 vs 9). We find this to be taxation without representation, and wonder how we would have voice and contribution towards the school environment that are students are assigned to, due to the distinct districts. In addition, the physical infrastructure in Apex does not accessibly connect our subdivision to the schools on the eastern end of Apex--to get there, one must cross 3 major roads/highways and use single-lane roads that are traffic-ridden. One is not able to access these resources without getting in a car and sitting in heavy traffic, which as you know, does not enable the working parent to effectively involve ourselves with resources on this side of town. We would thus be hindered from parental involvement at the school and its surrounding community, and children would not be connected with their classmates outside of school. Moreover, this school zone change would put our assigned ES/MS on a year-round school year, whereas our high school would remain on a traditional school year. This further isolates our ability to be involved with our kids, as vacations and schedules for children of different ages would not coincide for family activities and vacations outside of school. We know that we have the ability to apply to a school with a different calendar year structure, however we also understand that the acceptance of applications to the non-base school will be more of the exception rather than the rule, and will not be possible for the majority of students. Thus, it is important that our assigned base schools for all grade levels share a calendar system. Research supports that isolation of our children’s assigned school from the ability to have optimal parental involvement and the community in which they reside would put their achievement at risk, and we feel this should be of central concern to the board.

In contrast, letting our children remain at WOES or a proximate school would allow our children to remain in the supportive community our tax dollars have so well connected us to, west of 1600, 540, and 55. Numerous parks and entertainment centers are within a <5min commute, and this is where students from schools on this side of town and their parents engage together outside of school hours in athletics and social activities. Our tax money is even paying for a greenway to be built immediately next to our neighborhood, which would connect our neighborhood to WOES by a 2 mile foot/bicycle commute. My husband and I were planning to pick up/drop off our children from school in this way. This foot/bicycle commute is environmentally friendly, reduces the traffic burden, improves student health through exercise and continues to support community involvement outside of the home--all positive actions that our tax dollars are spent to support and that should be of central concern for a school board to protect.

If not student achievement, another primary motivation for a rezone is often school board budget. However, concerningly, the proposed rezone would introduce infrastructure and logistical concerns that would hinder the function of Apex, and prove expensive to resolve. The commute from our neighborhood to Salem ES and MS involves travel over bridge on single-lane road, Jenks. The additional children commuting for school across this road, not built for such heavy traffic, would cause significant traffic delays. In addition to negative effects of the added exhaust on the environment, and accessibility concerns for emergency vehicles to our section of town with the added congestion, this would increase bus routes exponentially, which would be expensive to the school board (while also being disruptive to our childrens’ schedules and well-being). While Jenks Road could be expanded, the required expansion of bridges would be expensive, which would also render this rezone not the most effective use of tax dollars. As parents, we would be interested to see the proposed bus routes of this rezone, and would like the board to help us understand how commuting traffic over a one-lane road, rendering the need to expand bridges and extend bus routes, would be an effective use of tax dollars.

At the top of school board concerns, along with student achievement and budget, we would also hope student safety is a primary consideration. If rezoned, our children would have to commute over three busy roads---1600, 540 and 55. This is a clear risk to our childrens’ safety---the road is one of the most dangerous places to be. In contrast, two closer school options, WOES and Olive Chapel Elementary School, do not require putting our children at risk in such traffic. As above, maintaining our children at WOES would even allow our children to commute without being on a road at all. As parents, we feel it should be a primary concern of the board to keep our children safe, and thus this rezone is again concerning.

We understand that school capacity is of utmost concern to the board, the board must admit that the school that our small neighborhood is assigned to will neither resolve nor tax the overflow problem at any school, should we be grandfathered as an established community to our current schools of WOE and MPM, or other more proximate schools such as Olive Chapel ES. At the same time, we believe there is a more long-term solution for the school utilization problem in the Wake County community as a whole: we would like to propose that school zones be assigned by proximity. Inevitable overflow students that are currently being sent to schools that have a proximate community themselves, could instead be sent to underfilled schools, such as Salem ES/MS. In this way, we would utilize the resources of the currently underfilled school and work towards meeting the lower student-teacher quota that has been mandated in the state of NC for the upcoming school year. Inevitable overflow students from each school could be then more of the exception than the waterfalling overflow population that results from having overflow students fill schools that have a large proximate community themselves. We know this would require the population of designated “capped” schools to be changed, however we feel this change should be able to be made in the context of a rezone in order to best address current and future concerns our school system faces. School zone assignments made by proximity would simultaneously maintain communities, for the academic achievement of students, and protect taxpayer budget from paying for long busing commutes and the construction costs resulting from overtaxing our road infrastructure---all undoubtedly goals of the school board and tax-payers, alike.

We are taxpayers who made the conscious decision to not live just miles down the road in low-tax Chatham County, where we could afford a better standard of living and have shorter work commute times to Durham, due to the value we place on Wake County’s excellent education system. Wake County’s excellent education system is in large part thanks to your efforts, and we are keenly aware that we are paying you for it. We do not find that this rezone is allotting us with the resources that we have paid for with our tax money: the assurance of a safe environment that fosters our children’s academic success. Please address our concerns by providing the children of the Preserve at White Oak neighborhood with school assignments that are not separated by dangerous highways from our homes, and that are within the community in which children are connected outside of school hours, which has been shown to be best for their success. If our concerns are not addressed, it should be apparent to the board that a group of neighbors that just moved to a neighborhood for the school assignments will again promptly move to seek new school assignment, or remove our high-performing students from the public school system altogether. We appreciate your attention to our concerns so that we will not be forced to abandon our local public school system here in Wake County. We will continue to be available during reconsideration of this rezone proposal to help work towards the best decision for student safety and success, while utilizing our funds appropriately.

Sincerely,

Cosette M. Burian, MMS, PA-C

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Tara McMahon at October 16, 2019 at 11:21am EDT

Thank you Matt for responding to our comments. Can you tell us a bit more about what next Thursday’s meeting will entail? Will all the school board members be there to speak with us?

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Tara McMahon at October 16, 2019 at 12:10pm EDT

Also, at what point will trailers be added to White Oak elementary and why has this not been planned for next year instead of rezoning base students that are 5 minutes down the road to schools that are further away on more dangerous roads putting ourselves and others on the busy roads more at risk? What about environmental factors? What about the emotional impact on the young children you are trying to do this to?

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PWO Resident at October 16, 2019 at 12:19pm EDT

Hi Matt - thanks for going through the concerns being expressed on this forum and responding to as many as you could.

Just wanted to let you know that we were fortunate enough in expressing our concerns/grievances in the Apex Town Council Meeting that was held yesterday (Oct 15 2019, 7 pm). We request you and your team to please watch the youtube video (starts at 16.00 min / end 35:00 mins) where parents from Preserve At White Oak (PWO) community have expressed all of our primary concerns around the proposed school rezoning. We were really glad that the council members empathized with our situation and acknowledged the hardships that will be caused by the rezoning, more specifically how the Traditional to Year Round transition can turn all lives - parents, kids and community as a whole - UPSIDE DOWN.

We spoke about how the Pillars of Proximity, Efficiency and Safety are all undermined with the proposed rezoning and how the rezoning will make our PWO community a mere satellite neighborhood for Salem ES/MS schools rather than an inclusive neighborhood for WOES and Mill Park MS and much more.

Here is the youtube link (pls watch from 16:00 mins through 35:00 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5_GzG6HfMQ (Video copyrights:Town Of Apex)

Let me know if you are having trouble viewing the link or have any questions.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 16, 2019 at 5:24pm EDT

Hi Matt, could you share with us the number of overflowing students from other schools into WOES. We understand the number of overflowing students will decrease but the case is same with the kids feeding from our community.

As a lot us have asked it earlier as well, what is the plan for adding modular units?

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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2019 at 4:46pm EDT

23 overflow students at White Oak as of Sept. 27. (See attached)

Trying to get more info about modular units.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 17, 2019 at 6:13pm EDT

Thanks for the data Matt. So per the data there are 107 students that are overflow+transfer+preferred calendar etc. Which is more than the kids being rezoned from their base. So for our information, when a school is capped does the school allow for any applications for overflow/transfer/preferred calendar to be approved?

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 16, 2019 at 5:29pm EDT

Hi Matt,

I found the link below for the year 2016-2017 there were 409 students enrolled in WOES. https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/school_detail.asp?ID=370472003377

I couldn't find data for 2017-2018. Lets go with the say around 50% additional enrolled and the enrollment is around 600. So by 2018 April the mandate came for reduction in sizes. Could you please throw some light on why the numbers went up to 752 after the mandate was passed? Thanks.

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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2019 at 3:33pm EDT

Jayakhanna, the link didn't work for me and not sure I understand your question.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 17, 2019 at 4:56pm EDT

The link gives the total enrollment data in WOES for the year 2017-2018 as 414 (not 409 as i put earlier). There is no data publicly available for the year 2018-2019. I requested year wise data in an earlier thread. So i assumed lets say there were 600 total enrollment in 2018-2019. Now in an earlier mail thread you mentioned that the reduction mandate was passed in April 2018. So I'm wondering how there are 752 total enrollment now. The draft mentions 616 and the school administration is saying 752. So if it's 752 that means it increased after the mandate came. My question was how the numbers went up so much after the mandate was passed.

Thanks.

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Tim Riley at October 16, 2019 at 6:13pm EDT

Attached is a satellite photo of the Highcroft/Mills Park reassignment area, which I think helps to visualize just how few residences are being singled out, and how little open land is actually slated for residential development. In the photo I have outlined the entire reassignment area, current commercial areas, future commercial areas, and the two small neighborhoods (Ashley Woods and Branton Drive) picked out for reassignment. I think this visual also shows how we'll be split from the other subdivisions that we're essentially connected to (the notched out portion in the northeast quadrant of the zone), which will create even further disruption for the small number of children being reassigned.

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Hailey Theile at October 16, 2019 at 9:34pm EDT

400 Residential Units Under Construction in Salem Elementary School’s Base:

I mentioned in a previous forum post that there is a lot of obvious visible development along Jenks Road. Others have brought up this construction as well. I counted the residential lots currently “under construction” on the Apex development map for Salem’s base.

http://apexnc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=fa9ba2017b784030b15ef4da27d9e795

Construction Along Old Jenks Road: M/I Homes 51 dwellings currently in one area. 120 M/I Homes townhomes in second area. 30 Dan Ryan homes.

HH Hunt Homes Townes at North Salem Condominiums (N of Old Jenks closer to Hwy 64): 195 condominiums, 3 story, 2 car garage. https://www.hhhunthomes.com/property-search-results/raleigh-nc/townes-of-north-salem/community-map

When you add these together, it’s almost 400 residential units that are currently in construction in Salem’s base. The current draft 1 proposal will put Salem at 107% capacity. (Capacity at Salem is 832 and currently 752 students, so under enrolled by 80 seats. Draft 1 Proposal moves 50 kids from Highcroft and 90 from White Oak, so 140. This puts Salem at 892 or 107%). None of these numbers are even counting the current construction zoned for Salem in White Oak’s base, and all the “dirt” zoned for Salem in the hodgepodge of purple dots west of 540.

If this proposal goes forward as is, it appears likely that Salem will be bursting at the seams within the next few years (even with the year round calendar) and the Board will be back at the table trying to figure out who can be bounced out to reduce crowding at Salem ES.

As small neighborhoods of only 40-50 elementary kids combined, detached from Salem’s base, Ashley Woods/Branton/Overlook will be easy targets to bounce out of Salem’s base when this crowding reaches a crisis point in the next few years.

Ashley Woods has presented endless facts, data, and arguments for why it doesn’t make sense to move us out of Highcroft ES. I am not going to rehash all of that again. I still don’t think the minimal chip in Highcroft’s crowding is worth the instability you will create for these 40-50 elementary school kids and 30ish middle school kids.

I will say that Salem ES makes the least sense for Ashley Woods. We sit on the nexus of base assignment areas for 4 different schools: Turner Creek ES, Green Hope ES, Davis Drive ES, and Highcroft ES. Our neighborhood touches all of these base assignment areas. Two of these (Green Hope and Davis Drive) have no real development when looking at the town of cary interactive development map. (Davis Drive has one area where 30 freestanding residential units have been approved for development.) Turner Creek does have some development taking place, but it is still not full or capped. Meanwhile, Salem Elementary’s base has rampant construction right now, it’s base does not touch our communities, and it is significantly further away from our community than the aforementioned schools.

As I mentioned in previous posts, the current draft 1 proposal will force older Ashley Woods kids into a third new calendar plus a new school (track 4 Highcroft, traditional Highcroft, YR Salem). That is a ton of disruption and instability for these children and their families. Last year’s proposal for Ashley Woods at least lessened some of this instability by keeping the same calendar. I know assignment staff was trying to create a larger feeder pattern cohort with this year’s proposal, but in reality that’s only about 25 kids per grade traveling together. In a middle school with hundreds per grade, it might as well be 5.

Thank you for all of your hard work on this assignment proposal. I know these are complex crowding issues.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 17, 2019 at 10:41am EDT

Please also include 400 homes from the Westford Apartment complex and 200homes by Taylor Morrison next to Westford complex, on Jenks rd and HWY64 that are Zoned for Salem. this development is not even at 50% occupancy yet. so the total will actually be a 1000 residential units assigned to Salem. This data certainly suggests a need for another reassignment in the coming year.

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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2019 at 4:07pm EDT

Hailey, as I mention to another parent below, Olive Chapel and Scotts Ridge are capped and Turner Creek has a large area of expected growth near the school. See attached heat map, which can also be found on Page 24 of the Draft 1 presentation.

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Hailey Theile at October 17, 2019 at 4:52pm EDT

Hi Matt. I was actually not referring to those schools. I was pointing out Green Hope ES (feeder pattern for our neighborhood from proposal last year) and Davis Drive ES. Both are much closer to Ashley Woods, no future developments sited in Green Hope’s base, and only 30 future residential developments in Davis Drive’s base (per the town of Cary development map). Neither of those schools are capped or have rampant population growth like Salem does. The base assignment areas for these schools TOUCH our neighborhood. Kids going to these schools are literally across the street from our community. Plus, older kids wouldn’t be forced into a third calendar during their elementary careers. Ultimately, it makes more sense for these 40-50 elementary kids from our community to be left at Highcroft in their current feeder pattern, as the tiny dent in crowding is not worth the major disruption for these kids and families who have already experienced the instability of Highcroft’s flipping calendar.

However, schools without caps or population explosions that actually touch our neighborhood with their base seem to be at least more sensible than Salem. If staff had major concerns about growth in Turner Creek’s base, couldn’t Salem>Salem be the YR application for our community? As mentioned, the “larger Salem cohort” going from MS to HS is still only about 25 kids per grade, which is not that different than the 5 per grade in last year’s proposal when the pool is hundreds.

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Tim Riley at October 17, 2019 at 4:31pm EDT

I think Hailey referenced Green Hope, Davis Drive, not Scotts Ridge and Olive Chapel. Davis Drive looks pretty cold on the heat map, and Green Hope pretty cool.

In regards to Turner Creek, Ashley Woods is within walking distance of that school, and we would drive by it to get to Salem. The new construction and/or dirt in the heat map around Turner Creek, is more proximate to Salem than Ashley Woods is.

Turner Creek is also currently Ashley Woods' calendar option, and you're taking those people out of Turner Creek and making them drive further to Salem, all in the name of future growth that's closer to Salem than we are.

Of course Ashley Woods and Branton could just stay at in the lower growth zone of Highcroft and Mills Park where we're really a non-factor as far as overcrowding goes, and the new construction and dirt around Turner Creek and Salem could go to their respective proximate schools.

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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2019 at 4:29pm EDT

Hailey, As for Green Hope Elementary, as I believe has been mentioned a few times, we proposed that last year but the board opted against it in response to parent concerns about the K-12 feeder pattern. Davis Drive Elementary meanwhile is overcrowded and is not able to take on additional students, plus it poses the same feeder pattern issue as Green Hope Elementary.

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Tim Riley at October 17, 2019 at 5:10pm EDT

Matt why couldn't either of these follow the feeder pattern to Green Hope High, which according to last year's proposal was projected to be at 85% capacity in 2021-2022? Davis Drive Elementary was projected to be at 107%, which is I believe also what Salem Elementary is projected to be at after this proposal.

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Hailey Theile at October 17, 2019 at 5:36pm EDT

Matt- we were the parents raising those feeder pattern concerns. It was our neighborhood being put in that feeder pattern. After our recent meeting with Ms. Mahaffey, she heard parents from our neighborhood expressing how they felt that this assignment was much more problematic than last year. For all the reasons we have stated: further away, a third calendar for many of our elementary kids, and the MS>HS transitioning “cohort” problem is still there because with 140 kids being moved, the cohort would still only be roughly 25 kids per grade (rather than 5). The hundreds of other children in their grade would still be advancing to a different HS and they would still likely be leaving their friends behind.

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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2019 at 3:18pm EDT

Hailey et al., we are aware of the developments and our staff factored them in when making the Draft 1 proposal.

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Hailey Theile at October 17, 2019 at 5:03pm EDT

I am seriously concerned that when these est. 1,000 residential units in Salem’s base are finished and filled within the next 1-2 years, that growth is going to send Salem’s 107% capacity (if proposal approved) skyrocketing, and small detached satellites of kids will be the first booted out. Nearly 1,000 residential units are going to equal a ton of kids. What is Salem’s max operating capacity as a YR school? With these numbers it seems like it would have to run at near 200% to accommodate all of this growth. And these residential units are in construction now, not hypothetical empty dirt or farmland. Please help me to understand how this works because I really don’t get it.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 17, 2019 at 8:45am EDT

Hi Matt,

Good morning. Another query on the "Pillar of Proximity". For Preserve at White Oak creek, the schools Olive chapel, Turner creek and Scotts Ridge elementary schools are much closer than the proposed Salem Elementary. So I want to better understand why those options weren't considered. If those are overcrowded then we have to adjust them in such a way that every neighborhood is closer to the schools around them like we are reassigned because of WOES overcrowding from other areas though we are part of the District 8. Can't just pluck some part in the middle of the map and assign it somewhere that's farther than many surrounding schools. That's totally going against the "Pillar of proximity", isn't it?

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Matt Dees admin at October 17, 2019 at 4:06pm EDT

Olive Chapel and Scotts Ridge are capped and Turner Creek has a large area of expected growth near the school (see attached heat map), which can also be found on Page 24 of the Draft 1 presentation.

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Jayakhanna Pasimuthu at October 17, 2019 at 5:02pm EDT

Since I am new to this entire thing just wanted to understand this cap. So if the capping is there, can't it be removed if adjustments are made. If that's not possible then why the WOES shouldn't be capped. Also why these future new constructions can't be assigned to Salem Elementary school. Thanks.

Thanks.

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Parvinder Kaur at October 17, 2019 at 9:50am EDT

Thanks for the detailed work Hailey. Matt, with the data Hailey provided could you please clarify how will the current proposal provide stability to families impacted by this and how is this going to resolve the overcrowding issue?? please provide more details on the data that was taken into consideration from these new developments on Jenks Road. we would like to really understand what data is being used to make decisions for our families.

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Sarah Penley at October 17, 2019 at 5:32pm EDT

Hi Matt! Thank you and the Board for your time and energy going into this. I realize a lot of us seem to be saying the same thing, but I would like to re-touch on a point Hailey made about re-zoning our kids in the future. I have personally been at my address in the Caitlyn Pond community for 6 years. Since then we have been assigned to 3 ES (Olive Chapel --> Mills Park --> White Oak) and now the proposal for Salem. You mentioned that the Board has taken into consideration the new construction. I would like to know what factors from a statistical model the board is using to project the population in those subdivisions. This is a modeling equation and needs to be treated as such for as long of term as possible given the dynamic nature of our Apex/Cary/Green Level Community. If the Board is estimating 25% of the 1000 homes will have elementary aged children, that is at least 250 kids that will need a seat at a school and this is with the assumption that those households only have 1 elementary student at a time. Couple that with the proposal to move those in this forum 250+140=390 kids including into Salem. Does Salem have that type of capacity?

Also, if we are taking the these new homes into consideration is it safe to assume that all of the new construction that is currently under development for WOES was considered as well? If you are removing us for the next year to prepare for the 2021-22 year you will have only under utilized WOES for the 2020-21 year to explode and exceed capacity driven by these new developments for 2021-22. During the transition year of 2020-21, will modular units be added to WOES to accommodate?

I think we are just all concerned that these schools are going to be maxed out one way or another. Instead of uprooting our children that have existing schedules/routines, support and social networks, school and staff bonds and club activities that are not offered at the new proposed school, could our children please stay within our assignments. Moving us only decreases current school numbers by 5-8% for each school (which the board is already concerned with capacity) only to allow new families to come and fill our spots as well as add to the capacity. Why not keep us where we are at and be slightly over the 100% capacity and then cap the schools. Additionally, doesn't it make more sense to treat these communities that are under development or planned for development as the "blank" land parcels and begin trickling them into Salem? As Salem approaches capacity, the Board would be re-evaluating where to place the overflow as it did for Davis Drive and others. Again, thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

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